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Bad behaviour in classrooms fuelled by fashionable 'restorative justice' schemes

Discussion in 'Education news' started by nomad, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Bad behaviour in classrooms is being fuelled by fashionable “restorative justice” schemes, the head of a teacher union has said.

    The schemes are failing to deter unruly pupils from misbehaving, according to Chris Keates, general secretary of National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT).

    She said that in principal restorative policies are fine but poor implementation can lead to teachers becoming “disempowered” and discipline getting worse.

    Some schools are interpreting restorative justice as a merely having a conversation with a pupil about the incident, without any sanctions being applied.
  2. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    RJ schemes are often used to blame teachers for students' poor behaviour. Restorative justice is just another way in which school managers wash their hands of responsibility for 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!
  3. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Occasional commenter


    RJ is just more PC tosh.

    Designed to allow those in charge (sic) of English schooling to hide behind another cloud of psycho-babble masquerading as innovative, 21st century management speak.

    Or to be still more precise: "Yet more PC tosh"
  4. mistermanager

    mistermanager New commenter

    At my school, we have a name on the board and point system in order to reprimand instances of misbehaviour. One of my Year 9 students has been utterly vile and horrendous in every possible way for the past 6 months and has clocked up over 25 detentions for a multitude of reasons. Every lesson he does the same and is allowed back in with a simple apology (forced).

    Last lesson he did his usual and was given a most deserved detention by myself. About ten minutes later, a TA/behaviour team member of staff came in to observe his behaviour (this has been happening for a few weeks in every lesson). I was promptly told that we 'are not allowed to issue him with a detention' in front of the whole class. It turns out that after a warning, he is meant to be sent to a nurture room to avoid detention. Safe to say I stuck to my guns and gave said detention, telling this member of staff essentially where to go in a nice way.

    Why are we mollycoddling idiots. Yes some kids are simply idiots and deserve every possible reprimand that comes their way! This student should have been long gone from my subject methinks. It is sad that teachers now command so little respect and students absolutely play this system for what it is...
  5. Sisyphus_rolls_again

    Sisyphus_rolls_again Established commenter

    So a union leader raises a concern and it is reported in the Telegraph of all papers, in a positive tone!.
    On top if that, the last paragraph contains a comment from ofsted agreeing with the union position.
    In light of those things, I would expect a rapid change in policy.

    In any walk of life other than UK education, that is.
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Over 25 years ago I was working in a comprehensive, a good school with relatively few instances of bullying, but the LEA had bought into a so-called 'no fault' solution to bullying: we weren't allowed to punish bullies, but had to allow them to sit down with their victims and discuss matters. Lots of (pointless) training on the subject, and lots of disquiet from parents who wanted bullies punished.

    Still, it's originators made a good living from writing books/running courses on the subject! ;)
    Catgirl1964, tonymars and agathamorse like this.
  7. BTBAM85

    BTBAM85 New commenter

    Terrible rubbish.
    agathamorse likes this.
  8. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Not sure what you would call the 'justice' in a school I bailed from this week. Thursday P5. Yr 8 bottom set, half refusing to even get their pens out of their bags. Took the class back outside to line them up again and start over. DHT arrives, one kid is lippy to him so is hoiked out and sent to stand outside DHT's office. Class come into room, settle and work begins. I gave DHT work for the pupil he was now looking after. 5 mins before end of lesson pupil returns, throws papers onto front desk and tells the rest of the class " I couldn't be bothered to do the work, I've just been sat in the library watching youtube for the lesson"! If I'd have known that was an option I would have gone to the library and left the DHT to teach the class.
    School discipline policy states that teachers are not allowed to send pupils from the classroom. The school has closed it's isolation room. kids that are sent out (or run out) may eventually get rounded up and then returned to you! Guess why I bailed? Guess why the teacher I took over from bailed and guess why the teacher before that bailed!
  9. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    I remember my first experience with "restorative justice" about 10 years ago as a TA. It was all the rage in the school I was working at. The child left without any consequence. I left feeling utterly unvalued and powerless.

    It was also the rage in the police at that time. Later that same year, I was attacked in my own home. Despite extensive bruising around my neck and despite the fact I could no longer live there and had to leave immediately, the police were keen to go down the restorative justice route to "avoid criminalising the perpetrator".

    When I asked what this would involve, I was told I would explain how the person's actions made me feel and they would write a letter of apology. They knew how their actions made me feel. That was their INTENTION. I said no thank you. The officer handling the case attempted to make me feel guilty by talking through the impact a criminal record would have on their career and so on. Yes, well, being pinned down to my kitchen floor and strangled and kicked and punched before becoming homeless and sofa surfing for several months wasn't exactly a barrel of laughs either.

    The main problem with restorative justice is that most perpetrators and wrongdoers know exactly what they are doing wrong, and the victims' feelings are their intended effect. My experience of restorative justice is that it absolves people of responsibility for their actions.
    Sally006, Ezzie, Catgirl1964 and 6 others like this.
  10. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    I've used it a lot over the years. It has a good track record of evidence-based success in many spheres.
  11. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    Now I am wondering if you are referring to restorative justice or post #10.....
    Morgelyn, Piscean1 and gainly like this.
  12. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Occasional commenter

  13. moscowbore

    moscowbore Senior commenter

    My interpretation of the blog entry is that there has to be a sanction to sharpen the mind. I agree with this and in my experience this is exactly where restorative processes fail in school. There is no accompanying sanction to the "chat".

    In my experience restorative practices are often the product of greasy pole climber who is doing a masters and needs to show a practical implementation of their brilliance. Whether it works or not is irrelevant, in my experience as the greasy pole climber will be long gone before the damage becomes evident.
  14. Crommo89

    Crommo89 New commenter

    RJ? What a load of fashionable rubbish. SMT can wave loads of paperwork about what they have done, but it's still the teacher who has to deal with the fallout. If there is a particular student/teacher relationship that's causing a problem, then it might be a viable option. When a particular student is causing problems all over the place, then it isn't - it's the student. Many SMTs either don't seem able to or wont join up the dots on this one.
    Catgirl1964 and Oscillatingass like this.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    I think it probably works ok at times, for some students. The ones who are just a bit thoughtless and don’t mean any harm. The young often get confused about right and wrong and it doesn’t hurt to show them.


    Then they know what they’ve done wrong and it’s a deliberate choice. Or something beyond their control (which I think is actually quite rare.)

    In general, I’m not a huge believer in sanctions for when they get it wrong, I’m more in favour of not letting them get away with the little stuff so it never builds up to anything bigger.
  16. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Except that this:
    This is the spur to the use of ‘restorative practices’ in schools. However, I would be worried about asking students to work out right and wrong for themselves in some kind of constructivist teaching process.

    is just rubbish. Students don't work out right from wrong themselves. That might be how Ashman would do it but not how we've used it, nor how it is supposed to be used.

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