Restorative Practices in Education Contexts
: An Evaluation Happiness, School Engagement, and Self-Esteem

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The implementation of restorative justice in schools has been widely accepted as a constructive measure towards improving many positive school behaviours, limiting negative school behaviours, and thus preventing future conflict (Gonzalez, 2012). Evaluations consistently point to increased attendance, better marks, less victimisation and conflict incidents overall in schools with RA-based policies (Kokotsaki, 2013; Morrison, 2002). Additionally, researchers and restorative advocates state there are a number of positive psychological outcomes, including improved individual well-being (Starbuck, n.d.). However, the main limitation stemming from these varied research paradigms is that there is a lack of consensus on what should be evaluated (the outcome) and how this is being achieved (the process).

The use of Restorative Approaches (RA) in education is a rapidly expanding practice; its inception began with a shift from using Restorative Justice (RJ) within the Criminal Justice System (CJS ), expanding into schools in the early 1990s (Skinns, et. al., 2009); it has since been adopted worldwide. In the UK, The National Standards for Youth Justice (2009) states that all Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) have a duty to maximize victim involvement and integrate restorative processes across all YOT intervention strategies (Criminal Justice Joint Inspectorate, 2012). However, the commitment to these National Standards varies across regional YOTs. Nevertheless, Lord McNally observed that a few YOTs have delivered RJ through novel routes - including within the school system in some local authorities - in an effort to apply “early interventions with young people” (Restorative Justice Council, 2015, pg. 3). The introduction of RA into schools has most commonly been delivered through private training organisations; however, in the current research the impetus for implementation stems from the local Youth Offending Team. Hence, the current research will explore the implementation of restorative programmes in three schools (located in two separate local authorities) through the efforts of the local YOTs.
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  • Prifysgol Aberystwyth

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