Community Well-Being and Resilience

The International Institute for Restorative Practices conference this year had a special focus on the role of restorative practices and allied approaches in supporting well-being and resilience in communities and organisations. This aligned well with this ILT project and there was much discussion about the proactive development of Restorative Practices in the Higher Education setting to build and maintain relationships rather than just repair them when they break down.

A wealth of experience was shared by presenters and participants at the conference from all over the world in workshop sessions and ‘featured speaker’ sessions. Nicola Preston also chaired a panel session to discuss the ‘Big Questions’ for restorative practices in the 21st Century. There was recognition of how much had been achieved in the development of both theory and practice.

The conference was hosted by the Ligand (Belgium), a center for preventative and restorative practices that aims to reduce exclusions by establishing restorative processes in schools and other youth services in Belgium. They arranged some fantastic networking events including engaging with the local community by placing talking circles of chairs in the town. These resulted in some great discussions between conference participants and local residents. Maybe an idea for Northampton?!

The end of the conference again brought everyone together to work in groups of 5 or 6 to choose key words that encapsulated the conference. These words were written onto flags and then stretched across the river to leave a lasting reminder of the positive outcomes and the need to consider our own well-being and resilience as we continue to develop the theory and practice associated with this new social science of restorative practices.

Workshop on the Restorative Pedagogy in Kortrijk, Belgium

On Thursday May 16 2019, Nicola Preston presented the rationale and progress  (so far) of the ‘Restorative Pedagogy at the University of Northampton’ project to participants at the International Institute for Restorative Practices Conference in Kortrijk, Belgium.

Due to a time clash with PECS training, staff and students back in Northampton were not able to join the session through Collaborate Ultra but their involvement had been sought throughout. The presentation can be viewed through the attached link.

There was much interest from experts in the field who were interested in the application of the principles to a Higher Education context especially in relation to student retention and success.


Visit to Iffley Academy – A Restorative Special School

On Wednesday 6th February 2019, 10 students and 3 members of staff from the BA SEN & Inclusion programme visited Iffley Academy in Oxford to see restorative practices in action. The school is the first Special School in England and Wales to have achieved the Restorative Justice Council, Restorative Service Quality Mark (RSQM) which means that the school has been externally accredited against six Restorative Service Standards and recognized for quality restorative practice.

Tom Procter-Legg (Headteacher at Iffley) and Head Boy Josh gave us a really interesting tour of the school and opportunity to talk to staff and students about what restorative practices means to them. It was clear that the relationships that underpin the restorative processes are embedded as a whole school culture and ethos. This includes several canine members of the school such as ‘Dexter’ the dog who is valued for the way in which he is available to ‘listen in a non-judgemental way’ and also helps children and staff to understand that behavior is communication and that you need to understand the reasons for behavior to be able to help Dexter do the right thing. This visit will underpin the next stage of the project when staff and students receive restorative practices training.

Updates on progress

Following the first meeting of the volunteers and the signing of consent forms, the project leader has used the break over the Christmas period to start booking some dates to work towards meeting the project aims and objectives.

A pre-training evaluation will be carried out with volunteers.

A proposal has been submitted to present the project to the International Institute for Restorative Practices Conference in Kortrijk, Belgium in May 2019: - 

The project leader will lead training sessions in an Introduction to Restorative Practices for all volunteers. It is hoped that some funding can be identified to train a small number of students in accredited training to become restorative facilitators.

The group is awaiting some dates from the Headteacher of Iffley Academy in Oxford which is the first Special School in the UK to achieve the Restorative Service Quality Mark. Tom Procter-Legg  has written a series of articles about becoming a restorative school which can be found at the following links:

Now just to find the time to progress the ideas and engage in the co-creation of restorative outcomes!

First Meeting of the Project Team

On Monday 3 December 2018 the project team held their first meeting and invited students from the BA SEN & Inclusion programme to come along and find out more about being involved.

Nicola Preston introduced the aims and rationale behind the project and discussed the project plan. This was all done through ‘circle’ processes and participants had an opportunity to watch a short video that introduced them to the principles of restorative approaches.