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Strength, consistency and teacher authority

Two benefits of working restoratively that underpin my ongoing commitment to it are:

  • The inherent strength and rigour. High expectations and teacher authority is embedded in my work.
  • The precision of consistency I can achieve.


It’s not just me. I thought I’d share both a secondary and a primary example of what’s possible in your school/classroom today.


Warrandyte High School (Victoria) have adopted a distinct focus on circle architecture and challenging unhelpful or punitive staff mindsets about teaching. The preliminary results are in. Assistant Principal Joe Caruana says, “Because we spent the time building the teachers understanding of the importance of co-constructing with the students, the expectations and consequences, they – staff and kids – are on board.


When a young fella was asked if his other teachers had worked on setting the expectations, he said, ‘Yeah they all have and we know what’s happening now.’


When asked about how circles were going, a teacher noted that when you are in a space where the desks can’t be easily moved it really does create a barrier, so we need to do it outside.


My colleague and Expert Facilitator, Cassie Kitani, notes that Joe has reported that the movement across the school is really gaining momentum because they were able to lead the way they wanted teachers to lead (i.e. teach). Cassie says, “They are so excited and the leadership now have a much better frame for how to lead – by example.”


From a primary school perspective:


Rebecca Routledge is the Principal at Banksia Grove PS (WA). She reports to Expert Facilitator Candice Brown that teachers have observed the smoothest and calmest start she’s seen as a Principal. She put it down to teachers welcoming students and using Affective Language. Rebecca commented that the fear and cognitive load of starting a new year in a new class was reduced because each teacher conducted a Check-In Circle first up and used Affective Statements. The kids were like, “Righto got this. It’s a different teacher but it’s the same as last year.”


Candice also couldn’t help notice the excitement with which Rebecca describes her school. “She was so excited telling me. She said it is having such an impact that new students and families to the school stuck out like ‘dog balls’ (Candice suggested I edit this for public consumption. I decided not to!). Banksia Grove PS are shortly entering Year 2 of their partnership and I credit their leaps and bounds with a receptive Leadership Team, appointment of a Teacher Champion who is charged with producing a blog and sharing info, and finally their willingness to question, to contact and lean in. I love this school.”


I guess I just thought you should know that, amidst the prevailing media negativity about schools, that plenty like yours are stronger now than they’ve ever been.


Keep fighting that good fight,


PS. Want to know more about how working restoratively has helped other schools like yours? Hear from our friends at Swansea Public School here.

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