Restorative Practice (RP) and Restorative Justice


As a Relationships Based Learning school, Nayland College recognizes that the key to a harmonious environment is being able to identify when and how relationships are harmed, and to adopt a community-wide approach to problem-solving. 

At Nayland College we work in a restorative way; where we work WITH students, rather than “do to” them. 

What is Restorative Practice (RP)? 

Restorative Practice is a relational approach to managing school life grounded in beliefs about equality, dignity, mana and the potential of all people 

Restorative Practice has four underlying principles: 

  • Positive interpersonal relationships are a major influence on behaviour 
  • A culture of care supports the mana of all individuals in the school community 
  • Cultural responsiveness is key to creating learning communities of mutual respect and inclusion. 
  • A restorative approach leads to individuals taking responsibility for their behaviour. 

Restorative practice is a philosophy that recognizes good relationships as the cornerstone of creating an effective learning environment. 

The essence of Restorative Practice is accepting that people, especially teenagers, will make mistakes, and need to be given an opportunity to 'make it right’. 

A Restorative Approach: 

  • Allows for understanding of the effect of the behaviour and a chance to repair the harm caused. 
  • Requires students to be accountable for their actions. 
  • Encourages respect for all concerned. 
  • Is a way for students to develop better understanding of, and empathy with, others. 
  • Acknowledges that making mistakes is a natural part of maturing. 
  • Understands that positive relationships are crucial to having the best educational outcomes for students 
  • Is a process in which students learn to manage disagreement and conflict in a calm manner 
  • Allows focus on the ‘need’ rather than the ‘deed’ 
Picture by Tim Cuff - 7 April 2022 - Nayland College prospectus pictures, Nelson

So how does discipline work at Nayland College? 

Restorative Practice is not a “soft approach” to discipline. Stand-down and suspension may still be part of the process for a student who has committed serious wrong-doing. However, unlike traditional approaches to discipline, it is not the only consequence. It is expected that students repair any harm to others they have caused, not just have a “2 day break from school”. It is the accountability, and reparation aspects of the Restorative process that tend to have the most impact upon wrongdoers, with research demonstrating repeat behaviours following an RP process compared with a purely punitive one, are significantly lower. 

An RP approach to discipline involves teachers, and other students, working together to problem-solve when behaviours occur that do not align with our SOAR values.  

Nayland College is a school where victims, wrongdoers and their respective associated communities are active participants in processes that ensure equitable justice and fairness. This may often, but not always, involve a group conference where representatives of all parties are able to have their voices heard. 

  • Victims are empowered to have their needs met and to have their experience validated.  
  • Wrongdoers are able to tell their stories and given the chance to make amends.  
  • And finally, the school and associated communities of care, can seek to ways to ensure that the incident does not happen again. 

Conference Types 

Restorative practice conference types
The Social Discipline Window

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