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Restorative Practices & Bullying

Apr 2008
  • Ages: 
  • Format: 
    Spiral bound
  • Size: 

A fresh approach to dealing with bullying, based on restorative justice principles.

The authors' strategy for dealing with bullying in schools uses the principles of the restorative justice framework. This approach focuses on the needs of the community affected by bullying behaviour, rather than simply apportioning blame and deciding on punishment. This book is aimed directly at those who have to deal with bullying – in classrooms, corridors, playgrounds, and now on mobile phones and the internet. It provides responses that can bring about repair and healing and, in the long term, make school a safer place.

Topics covered include:

  • Restorative justice and bullying
  • Restorative responses to bullying incidents
  • Managing reluctance to face up to bullying
  • Preventing re-victimisation
  • Reaching and monitoring agreements.

The book includes scripts for use in small and community case conferences, and a list of key questions to ask in interviews with victims and wrongdoers.

Age: 7-16


  • Foreword
  • About this manual
  • Chapter 1 The case for a different approach
  • Chapter 2 Restorative Justice and bullying
  • Chapter 3 Restorative responses
  • Chapter 4 Managing reluctance and preventing re-victimisation
  • Chapter 5 What if?
  • Case study Undercover teams
  • Case study School bullying audit flowchart
  • Case study Boys and skirts
  • Case study Looking out for our sons
  • Appendix 1 Community conference script
  • Appendix 2 The Restorative Dialogue: key questions to manage bullying behaviour
  • Appendix 3 Ground rules
  • Appendix 4 Seating plan
  • Appendix 5 Small group conference script
  • Appendix 6 Recommended reading and resources
  • Appendix 7 Glossary of terms About the authors

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Margaret Thorsborne & David Vinegrad

Margaret Thorsborne has a long history in education, guidance and counselling. Her passion has always been to find better ways to build and rebuild relationships between teachers, students and other members of the school community, to enhance teaching and learning outcomes. She and like-minded colleagues were therefore keen to discover more effective interventions to deal with those sorts of incidents in schools such as bullying, abuse, conflict and violence which did not respond positively to traditional punitive sanctions. She was, therefore, inspired by stories of conferencing then being used in justice agencies.

Always a risk-taker, Margaret convened the first ever school-based conference with a little telephone coaching from a police officer and has never looked back! She managed a ground-breaking pilot of community conferencing in her educational region, and is now consultant to a number of government education departments in Australia and abroad wishing to change the policy, practice and culture of behaviour management in schools. Now a private consultant, she continues to work in schools as well as in private and public sector workplaces, convening conferences for high-level conflict and inappropriate behaviour and providing training in conference facilitation for middle and senior management.

David Vinegrad is a veteran of working in a diversity of school settings and undertaking a wide range of roles in classroom teaching, student counselling and management. His work experience covers several states of Australia and he is now involved in International Schooling in Japan. His interest in Restorative Justice stemmed from a concern about the use of traditional school-based measures when wrongdoing occurred. Student behaviour did not change, much conflict remained unresolved and the chance to promote positive teacher-student relationships was often lost. David was greatly encouraged when he undertook some professional development in Restorative Justice and has since become an innovative leader in classroom approaches.

After doing some pioneering work in Tasmania with like-minded educators and police he moved to Victoria to continue spreading the word. At the time of writing David is working 'restoratively' in classrooms with his students as well as acting as consultant to the Ministry of Education Singapore and a number of International schools in Japan.