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Restorative conference intervention to avoid school exclusion: Practice report

Aug 02, 2013

From the Practice Record Sheet by the School Exclusion Team:

TS (year 11 traveller girl) was permanently excluded from a High School  and at the governors meeting, other issues were raised that showed T’s action of assault on another pupil, whilst not condoned detailed some provocation to the incident.  It also emerged in the meeting that T is from a traveller background and therefore statistically more likely to be permanently excluded. Due to these reasons the School Exclusion Team robustly challenged the decision and discussed with governors the possibility of looking at an alternative strategy to permanent exclusion.

Discussion took place at the meeting with the governors regarding the explanation of Restorative Practice conferencing and how this could be used in this instance in order to avoid the permanent exclusion of a vulnerable young woman. Governors liked the idea and therefore overturned the permanent exclusion in favour of a long fixed term exclusion in order for a Restorative Practice Conference to take place.

Initially the traveller Mum was insistent she came to the conference but it was felt that she may not be the right person to support her daughter in this situation.  The traveller liaison officer was contacted because she had a good relationship with the family and she agreed to work with the conference facilitators to enable this to go ahead and keep the family on board.  This happened by working with the family to give them a better understanding and agreeing to support T in the conference, also A had a supporter from school because both girls expressed a wish for Mum’s not to be involved.

The conference went ahead as planned and all involved thought that it went very well. The girls seemed relieved that a line had been drawn in the sand with regards to the incident, and happy with both the process and the outcome. There were apologies, shame, guilt, acknowledgement of responsibility and remorse displayed by them both. 

When the incident was unpicked there was some history of A constantly taunting T about her ethnicity, T Understood that she should not have attacked A but in her culture this is how things are sorted out.  She left the meeting realising that there is another way to deal with conflict and she agreed to take steps to manage her anger in future.

Download the full report.

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