Who Are We?

 

After much discussion over recent months many of us working to promote restorative practices and approaches in European school contexts have thought that the time has come for us to develop an independent network, affiliated to, but separate from, the European Forum for Restorative Justice. The Forum organisation has, as its main focus, the transformation of the criminal justice system and has limited resources ( money, people and time). As educators we have a wider focus  - in part this is the transformation of school behaviour management and disciplinary systems.

 

However we know that to achieve this a shift in many other aspects of school life is required – the relationships between adults and young people; the relationships between the staff themselves, the relationships between staff and parents; beliefs around pedagogy; curriculum content; beliefs around youth participation and engagement; active citizenship and civic education; greater emotional health and wellbeing, communication and conflict resolution skills – all of these issues and more are intertwined with the implications of adopting a restorative response to harm, challenge and conflict in schools. In effect as restorative educators we are acting as change agents, transforming the culture of educational institutions at a local level,and impacting on educational policy at a national level. Our ultimate aim is to work with school staff to ensure that educational institutions are fairer, safer, happier and more effective teaching and learning environments.

 

Over the years the Forum has supported our work by welcoming us at events and conferences, printing news from schools projects in their newsletters and making space for us on their website. This has been excellent and helpful. However some of us think that if we had our own autonomy we would be in a position to forge our own path forward, identifying our own goals and strategies, lobby our own governments and in particular our respective Education Ministries to take Restorative Approaches more seriously.

 

 

We now have people interested in many different countries across Europe and even further afield.