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Our Research Catalogue contains grants and outputs data up to the end of April 2014. Records will no longer be updated after this date.

Inter-disciplinary perspectives on restorative approaches to conflict in schools: exploring international theory and practice

Grant reference: RES-451-26-0733

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Impact Report details

Interdisciplinary perspectives on restorative approaches to conflict in schools: exploring international theory and practice
This international inter-disciplinary seminar series investigated restorative justice (RJ) and its increasing application to educational settings (restorative approaches, RA). It involved five seminars in London, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Nottingham, and was supported by a core group made up of academics from a range of disciplines (criminology, psychology, education, sociology, anthropology, philosophy and law) a judge, a QC, teachers, head teachers, policy-makers, charity workers, and representatives from governmental and non governmental institutions including, for example, the Restorative Justice Council, the Youth Justice Board and UNICEF.
English

Primary contributor

Author Hilary Cremin

Additional contributors

Contributor Edward Sellman
Contributor G McCluskey

Impacts

The seminar series found that Restorative Justice is a concept and set of practices that can usefully be applied to schools. These have been developed and have been recognised as highly effective by the DfE, OfSted and schools and various charities and organisations.

The seminar series found that Restorative Justice is a concept and set of practices that can usefully be applied to schools. One of the outputs from the series is a set of materials and training activities for students and teachers in schools to help them to use these methods. For example Hilary Cremin organised a practitioner conference in Cambridge in 2011and 2012 for teachers with Luke Roberts her doctoral student, and the RJC, the national body for RJ in the UK. She has written a 60 hour CPD course for teachers and practitioners. This has run twice, including in Saltley School in Birmingham. She has provided CPD for teachers in Kings Norton Girls School in Birmingham and in Lancashire. Saltley School recently received an OfSted report (May 2013) that noted the success of the Restorative Approaches in Schools initiative in it main findings. The deputy principal of the school noted: “We have recently had Ofsted and they recognised our RAiS work as an example of excellent practice. In particular they have highlighted peer mediation in the formal report as an area of real strength that is valued by pupils. They also recognised that RAiS had helped virtually eliminate bullying from the school.”

The RJC have contributed to the UK government’s DfE’s bullying policy and the new OfSted framework using ideas from this series. From 2011 Gillean McCluskey has been the representative for Scottish Universities on the Scottish government’s Education Ministerial Advisory Group on Behaviour in Schools (SAGBiS). In 2010 Hilary Cremin was an informant at Baroness Walmsely’s Community Cohesion consultation at the HoL. She was an invited expert at a RSA seminar exploring anti-social behaviour amongst young people.

Pupils in schools, for example in Saltley School who experience an improvement in their peer relationships. Teachers who feel that they have additional skills in dealing with problem behaviour in schools.

Gillean McCluskey has helped set up a Restorative Practice Scotland network, funded by the Scottish government. Dr Derick Wilson from the University of Ulster has used ideas from the series to work up a ‘restorative schools’ research pilot with a number of Belfast schools. Prof Wendy Drewery was a visiting scholar in Cambridge in 2012, where she wrote a bid for a large grant comparing RA in schools in the UK and New Zealand with Hilary Cremin (Marsden fund). Dr Derek Wilson and Edd Sellman have used ideas from the series to write RA in schools modules for MEd courses at the universities of Ulster and Nottingham. Hilary Cremin has extended her doctoral supervision to include six students researching RA internationally, including in post-conflict settings in Africa and Bosnia, and inner city areas of the UK. Dissemination to academic and user groups

The series found that the ways in which RJ is applied varies according to disciplinary norms and assumptions, and that whilst this provides scope for lateral thinking and cross fertilisation; it also increases the need for clarity and theoretical coherence. Care should be taken in transposing initiatives from criminology into education. RJ involves an impartial third party facilitating a process whereby an offender (or wrong-doer) is held accountable and makes some form of reparation to his or her victim. The series found that the core processes of encounter and reparation are effective in diverting young people from crime and improving behaviour and relationships in schools. It also found that some of the claims of RJ proponents concerning the transformative potential of RJ are over-stated, and risk masking social and structural inequalities that are often unaddressed by these approaches.

This international inter-disciplinary seminar series investigated restorative justice (RJ) and its increasing application to educational settings (restorative approaches, RA). It involved five seminars in London, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Nottingham, and was supported by a core group made up of academics from a range of disciplines (criminology, psychology, education, sociology, anthropology, philosophy and law) a judge, a QC, teachers, head teachers, policy-makers, charity workers, and representatives from governmental and non governmental institutions including, for example, the Restorative Justice Council, the Youth Justice Board and UNICEF. Four of the five seminars involved paper presentations from international researchers, practitioners and graduate students, with the final seminar reserved for synthesis and outcomes.

At the heart of the seminar series was the core group whom the investigators personally invited. Members of the core group were asked in writing at the start to commit to all five meetings in order to ensure continuity and the building up of reflexive dialogue. The investigators had good existing contacts with both academics and practitioners across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the core group was selected to represent a good balance of gender, stage of career, academic discipline and sector. Many core group members were from user groups who were in a strong position to take forward ideas and practical initiatives. The majority of the core group attended at least four seminars, so that the 43 member core group was fully representative of the identified target groups. The core group included 34 educationalists. Amongst these, two were professors, seven were lecturers or senior lecturers, ten were graduate research students, 12 were from the public sectors or from NGOs (including UNESCO Paris, SACRO, Lincolnshire and Lancashire Local Authorities, the Restorative Justice Council (RJC) and the Welsh Assembly) one was a head teacher and four were teachers. There were professors from Social Policy, Criminology, Psychology and Health Sciences from Edinburgh, Portsmouth, Goldsmiths London and Surrey Universities, and another six lecturers and senior lecturers from the fields of Philosophy, Anthropology and Law from the universities of Complutense, Spain, Birmingham, Sheffield, Glasgow, Manchester, Hull, and Newport, Wales. On each occasion, the host investigator invited an additional ten to fifteen participants, and this had the effect of increasing the dissemination and impact of discussion and ideas from the seminars. Each seminar involved a presentation from at least one international speaker, and at least one research student.

Cite this outcome

Harvard

Cremin, Hilary et al. Inter-disciplinary perspectives on restorative approaches to conflict in schools: exploring international theory and practice: ESRC Impact Report, RES-451-26-0733. Swindon: ESRC

Vancouver

Cremin Hilary et al. Inter-disciplinary perspectives on restorative approaches to conflict in schools: exploring international theory and practice: ESRC Impact Report, RES-451-26-0733. Swindon: ESRC.