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Are you worried about restorative behaviour policies?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Feb 6, 2019.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Critics of the approach have raised concerns about the system being abused and it’s leading to teacher-blaming:

    ‘A new approach to pupil behaviour management that uses restorative-practice sessions to promote values of right and wrong has led to accusations that “teacher negativity” is to blame for poor behaviour, a union has warned.

    The Pivotal Approach to Behaviour Management, which is used in more than 1,000 schools and colleges, is being advocated by consultants from Pivotal Education Ltd.

    The Pivotal website says the method involves “shaping the behaviour of adults” and creating a “platform for change based around the one behaviour we can control absolutely…our own”.’

    What are your views about restorative behaviour policies? Has it helped to improve pupils’ behaviour? Is this approach the right one for schools to tackle bad behaviour? Do you think it undermines teachers’ authority?

  2. adam_nichol

    adam_nichol Occasional commenter

    Teachers have a huge influence on behaviour - both good and ill.
    But this just smacks of a stick to beat them with. Faux-legitimised through 'research' (that isn't worthy of the name); then corrupted further through only partial adoption (ie: the blaming part).

    Just a thought, can teachers use it back? If child's behaviour is bad because teacher is negative, then surely teacher is bad because SMT are negative?
  3. satnav

    satnav New commenter

    At the end of a training day last June our head gave every member of staff a copy of 'When the Adult Changes everything Changes' produced by Pivotal Education. We were told to read it over the Summer and fill in a review in September. On the first training day in September the head announced that the schools discipline policy was now based on the ideas in the book. She then said we would get proper training on the policy in June 2019!.

    Needless to say behaviour in the school at the moment is totally appalling. When SLT are called out to incidents they take ages to respond and when they do respond they do very little to support the classroom teachers. We currently have at least 6 members of staff off work with stress related illnesses and lots of staff members are desperately trying to find jobs either outside of teaching or in other schools. The head keeps saying that behaviour is good in 97% of lessons but all the staff know that such a figure is absolutely ridiculous. Staff would not be leaving in droves if 97% of lessons were good.
  4. hs9981

    hs9981 Established commenter

    A 'pivot'. 'Short shaft' more like!

    agathamorse likes this.
  5. Morgelyn

    Morgelyn New commenter

  6. Morgelyn

    Morgelyn New commenter

    Behaviour at my last (in all senses of the word) school deteriorated rapidly when Restorative Justice was introduced along with a policy of removing all sanctions . Whilst the latter was modified slightly, SLT's approach was that staff must be to blame when children misbehave ('Make your lessons more interesting!' 'Try to engage with the child!').

    I did point out, quite early on, that even if I wore fancy dress and danced on a table, certain children were unlikely to engage with the effort of learning, or behave in such a way that other children could learn without the constant disruption of backchat, chair throwing and other anti-social (delinquent?) antics.
    Behaviour, throughout the school, continued on its inevitable downward slide. Meanwhile, I was told that my attitude was not 100% supportive of the school behaviour policy, and that perhaps it was the way I taught that was causing the challenging behaviour in my class, a comment that:
    a) wilfully ignored the school- wide problem
    b) conveniently forgot that it was the policy that had changed, not my teaching (don't get me wrong, I am happy to adapt my methods as and when)
    c) overlooked my 30 years' of successful teaching and behaviour management, corroborated by every OfSTED lesson observation, includng the most recent, which naturally put the school in special measures, and all school based lesson observation.

    Did I say every lesson observation? All except the last one (in which the children behaved and responded brilliantly, made progress etc)...

    Reader, I saw the writing on the wall. I left.
  7. Morgelyn

    Morgelyn New commenter

    Education really is in a sad state.
    Alice K and agathamorse like this.
  8. moscowbore

    moscowbore Senior commenter

    Has anyone got a positive story about the introduction of restorative behaviour policies?
    Morgelyn likes this.
  9. adam_nichol

    adam_nichol Occasional commenter

    I would very much doubt it. Adults who don't realise that children react to the behaviour of the adult (at least in part) probably don't make it into the teaching profession.
    So, what you're left with with any scheme that attempts to define a singular cause for bad behaviour, is a scheme that can only confuse finger-pointing for solutions. At best, ideas like this stress the teacher out to a sufficient degree to make them panic about disruptive behaviour and try to minimise this by any means possible - very much sacrificing any notion of best interests for the children.
    Disruptive behaviour has a myriad of causes, and each case is unique. It could be struggles to access the learning, displaced feeling from other life events, the need to be centre of attention, etc, etc. All these have root causes that need to be tackled, as opposed to policies that restrict the end result (to varying degrees of success).
    But that's complicated. Finger pointing is much easier.
    blueskydreaming, blazer, drek and 2 others like this.
  10. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Lead commenter

    I have nothing against "restorative justice/restorative behaviour" per se (apart from the marketing/privatisation/snake oil attitude that surround it, but that's just UK education.) It seems like common sense to me: Student does something wrong; you have a conversation about why it went wrong, what impact it had on different people, and how this can be prevented in the future. I've had it work really well when the student engages with the process... and it works particularly well if the teacher isn't the immediate "finger-pointing" target - bullying issues for example.
    JohnJCazorla and agathamorse like this.
  11. sabram86

    sabram86 Occasional commenter

    There are times (daily) that I despair of the stupidity of leaders and managers in our education system. This is one of them.

    Teachers must be able to work without:
    a. fear of being contradicted by overpaid superiors;
    b. fear of false allegations;
    c. fear of such mind-numbingly stupid initiatives.

    Leaders who use this policy deserve the cane.
    blueskydreaming and install like this.
  12. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    It is baffling that any adult might think all poor behaviour from a child is caused by the adult in charge. Do they imagine children are incapable of making wrong choices? Are none of these adults parents? I can vouch from experience that my own children are quite capable of being a pain in the neck, despite the doting love and care they receive from their parents!
  13. install

    install Star commenter

    Restorative justice makes a victim of the teacher in my experience. I have seen it sadly as 'way out' for the student who has sworn, who has been found stealing, who has repeatedly truanted. And then for the student - seemingly backed by slt in some schs - to blame the teacher for causing the poor behaviour.:oops:
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  14. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    They work and have a good track record and evidence base.

    I suspect many schools adopt the practice and then carry it out in a half-***** unprofessional fashion.
  15. garyconyers

    garyconyers New commenter

    In my first year returning to teaching after 7 years in the police (where RJ was usually applied properly, i.e. the victim was allowed and expected to fully express themselves), I was told to go to a meeting with a parent of a very difficult child. Parent was worried that teachers were picking on her son - we were told to show how supportive and positive we were. The effect of her son's atrocious behaviour was largely ignored. I had to be careful not to upset her.

    A few days later the DHT present in the meeting asked how his behaviour was after the Restorative Justice session with his mother. I laughed and asked if we could have a proper RJ session where I could explain how his behaviour impacted in my lessons, how it made me feel. You know, proper RJ where everyone was open and honest, like we had in the police. He said that wouldn't be helpful or constructive and thought more of me than that.

    The school was in SM, the HOD, SMT attacked to our department, the 3 other maths teachers (including me) who started in January all left in July that year. The 2nd in dept who started in Easter lasted 2 weeks before quitting.

    Why is it that schools take a good idea and mess it up?
  16. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    Remember Brain Gym? This was a marketing idea but sold as based on solid science and research and made someone very rich. It was a fad that caused huge problems and wasted a lot of time but Heads bought it because they didn't question the underpinning ideas.

    This is exactly what is happening with RJ.
    Catgirl1964, agathamorse and Morgelyn like this.
  17. garyconyers

    garyconyers New commenter

    I've seen RJ work brilliantly when applied properly.

    ASB victims letting kids know what effect their actions have had on their lives (with parents present), making them realise can be very upsetting for the culprits. In a good way.

    Could be brilliant in schools if done properly, where teachers can be honest about how they felt.
    That would never happen.
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Occasional commenter

    It is unbelievable that teachers are discouraged from telling children what they did wrong and how they can improve regarding behaviour. We do it with their work, why are some schools nervous about highlighting the disruption to learning of some pupils, particularly because that’s what the kids are there for in the first place! To learn something!!!
  19. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Restorative justice is just another way in which school managers wash their hands of responsibility to behaviour, After 'going academy', my last school did two things that served to completely undermine teachers' authority in the classroom. The Heads of Year were replaced by non-teachers, one of the roles of whom was to act as 'advocates for the students', and a system of 'restorative justice' was adopted. All a student had to do was to go whining to their HoY, who them presided over a 'restorative justice' meeting between the teacher, the student, and sometimes a member of the SMT. The usual outcome of this was a 'compromise' solution, in which the teacher had to back down, and to be seen to do so in front of the student. At these meetings, it was the teacher who was 'in the dock' over their 'inappropriate management' of the student's behaviour, rather then the student being called to account for their inappropriate behaviour!
  20. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I have had terrible experiences with RJ in the past, but it works well in our school.

    It basically goes like this.

    teacher tells student clearly what they did wrong, and what the sanctions are.
    student apologises
    if the teacher feels it is appropriate, discussion can then move on to how the child is feeling and coping and learning in your subject, and how future issues can be managed between the two of you.

    Last week I had a child removed for refusing to start work. She did her detention. We then had the RJ meeting, she apologised for her attitude and then explained that she had felt very isolated and lonely, and was afraid that when we came to the discussion part of the task, nobody would want to look at her answers and talk to her.

    I didn't know she felt like that, now I do, now we have a plan for next time.

    This only works when SMT back the teacher up totally, and the students know that will happen. This is very rare
    agathamorse likes this.

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