The historical origins of Restorative Practices (RPs) can be traced back to the Māori communities in New Zealand (Wearmouth & Berryman, 2012). In the 1980s and 1990s RPs were applied in the criminal justice sector and a decade later in the educational sector (McCluskey, Lloyd, Stead, Kane, Riddell & Weedon, 2008b). According to a large-scale survey of English schools in 2009, some 69% reported to sometimes employ RPs (Kane, Lloyd, McCluskey, Maguire, Riddell, Stead & Weedon, 2009). The benefits of using RPs in schools are that it allows the focus to be shifted from punitive approaches to providing children with learning opportunities when conflict has occurred (Hopkins, 2003). The evidence base in the United Kingdom (UK) consists largely of evaluation studies for example a study was commissioned by The Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED) to measure the impact of RPs across 3 local authorities (Kane et al., 2009). The findings suggested that in 14 out of 18 schools, RPs had led to significant changes in practice, including increased positivity and reflectiveness in pupils and staff. Few research studies conducted in the UK have explored the perceptions of either the victim or ‘identified wrong-doers’ involved in RPs in school settings. Therefore the current study aimed to gain an insight into the perceptions of young people ‘identified as wrong-doers’ by school staff and who had been involved in some form of Restorative Interventions (RIs) such as a Restorative Conference (RC) or a Restorative Mediation (RM). A qualitative study was designed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). 7 participants were recruited (5 males, 2 females aged between 11 and 16) from a Secondary school. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews which were conducted between one and six weeks after the mediation or conference had taken place. The data was analysed and five master themes were created: the emotional component of being involved in the RI process; the experience of RIs as learning opportunities; the interactions between individuals before and during the RIs; the experience of feeling vulnerable and difficulties with recognising, processing and expressing thoughts and feelings. Some of these master themes directly related to the RP process and others related to the general experience of being an ‘identified wrong-doer’. Methodological issues and implications are considered. For instance, in terms of the research setting, the current study gives an indication of the elements of the RIs the participants valued (for example sharing stories) and found challenging (such as expressing their emotions). One of the implications for Educational Psychologists (EPs) could be supporting schools to employ RPs effectively to create an inclusive school environment.
|University of Nottingham
|Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
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