Relationship Management

Restorative Practices

Kawaha Point School started using the restorative approach to relationship / behaviour management in 2009.

Schools traditionally follow a punitive approach to behaviour management, that focuses on the individual wrong-doer, out of context.  It punishes them as a deterrent to repeating the offence.  This is the same approach used in our justice system with invredibly high rates of reoffending.  Research shows that if victims are given a voice and able to speak directly to the wrong-doer, and the wrong-doer is a willing participant in the restorative process, that there is significantly better outcomes for all involved.  This includes far less reoffending.

We want high levels of support and high levels of control, and to work with wrong-doers and victims to find solutions.  The restorative approach relies on having willing participants.  Wrong-doers who choose not to be involved in finding solutions will be dealt with under the old punitive system.  Our new approach to Relationship Management at Kawaha Point School does not mean that we are 'going soft' or that stand downs, suspensions and exlusions will not be used in some circumstances.  We want what you want - happy children learning in a safe environment.  The restorative approach has been proven to significantly lower the number of bullying reoccurrences.


What we aim to do

Foster awareness:  In the most basic intervention we may simply ask a few questions of the offender to foster awareness of how others have been affected by the wrongdoing.  Or we may express our own feeling to the offender.

Avoid scolding or lecturing:  When offenders are exposed to other people's feeling and discover how victims and others have been affected by their behaviour, they feel empathy for others.  When scolded or lectured, they react defensively.  They see themselves as victims and are distracted from noticing other peoples feelings.

Involve offenders actively:  All too often we try to hold offenders accountable by simply doling out punishment,  so in a punitive intervention, offenders are completely passive.  They just sit quietly and act like victims.  In a restorative intervention, offenders are usually asked to speak.  they face and listen to victims and others whom they have affected.  They help decide how to repair the harm and must then keep their commitments.  Offenders have an active role in a restorative process and are truly held accountable.

Accept ambiguity:  Sometimes as in a fight between two people, fault is unclear.  In those cases we may have to accept ambiguity.  Privately, before the conference, we encourage individuals to take as much responsibility as possible for their part in the conflict.  Even when offenders do not fully accept responsibility, victims often want to proceed.  As long as everyone is fully informed of the ambiguous situation in advance, the decision to proceed with a restorative intervention belongs to the participants.

Separate the deed from the doer:  In an informal intervention, either privately with the offenders or publicly after the victims are feeling some resolution, we may express that we assume that the offenders did not mean to harm anyone or that we are surprised that they would do something like that.  When appropriate, we may want to cite some of their virtues or accomplishments.  We want to signal that we recognise the offenders' worth and disapprove only of their wrongdoing.

See every instance of wrongdoing and conflict as an opportunity for learning:  The teacher in the classroom, the police officer in the community, the probation officer with his caseload, the corrections officer in the prison all have opportunities to model and teach.  We can turn negative incidents into constructive events - building empathy and a sense of community that reduce the likelihood of negative incidents in the future.

Kawaha Point School
Aquarius Drive
Rotorua, New Zealand
Ph: 07 348 5864
Fax: 07 349 2581