There is good evidence that becoming a restorative school delivers a wide range of benefits including increased attendance, reduced exclusions and improved achievement.
It can also alleviate problems such as bullying, classroom disruption, truancy and poor attendance, antisocial behaviour, and disputes between pupils, their families, and members of staff.
But to be effective, restorative approaches must be in place across the school. This means all pupils, staff (including non-teaching staff), management and the wider school community must understand what acting restoratively means and how they can do it. As a result, restorative schools adopt a whole-school approach to restorative methods.
A report published by the Department for Education gave whole-school restorative approaches the highest rating of effectiveness at preventing bullying, with a survey of schools showing 97% rated restorative approaches as effective.
An independent evaluation of restorative justice in Bristol schools found that restorative justice improved school attendance and reduced exclusion rates.
In Barnet, an evaluation by the local authority found a reduction in exclusions of 51% in restorative justice trained schools compared to a 65% increase in exclusions in the thirty two Barnet schools that have received no restorative justice training. They also found increased confidence among school staff to deal with bullying and conflicts in the school.
Further reading about restorative practice in schools: