Primary Schools attend “Restorative Justice” lessons
12 August 2011
Pupils at Linden Primary School have attended “Restorative Justice” lessons with Gloucester City Homes (GCH), Project Solace and Gloucester Police, to promote awareness of the consequences of getting involved in anti-social behaviour (ASB).
Year 5 and 6 students attended a group session with ASB Officers from GCH & Project Solace and Police Officers from the Local Policing Area (LPA) Team. This followed an assembly with the whole year group, delivered by PC Pete Curtis and PCSO Asha Patel.
The pupils took part in the first lesson of a scheme that is set to roll out across city schools during 2011/12.
Gloucester City Homes, Project Solace and the Police use Restorative Justice approaches, where possible, to deal with neighbourhood issues and lower level ASB.
Restorative Justice allows victims and perpetrators, where appropriate, to sit down and discuss incidents of ASB with a hope of resolving the issue so that it does not happen again. The sessions are victim focussed and allow victims to explain the effect that an incident has had on them, while making the perpetrator accountable for their actions and requiring them to explain why they behaved how they did. This often results in a written or face to face apology.
The approach has had high success rate and is used as part of the Police’s Community Orientated Policing (COPS) System. GCH & Project Solace use this approach to resolve ASB at an early opportunity to prevent the need for more formal intervention.
Year 5 and 6 students actively participated in the Restorative Justice lesson, which focussed on bullying, homelessness, and ASB. Students were very constructive during the lesson and discussed how ASB affects the community and why people cause ASB. Students identified the link between bullying and ASB, and discussed times when they have been victims themselves, as well as discussing the consequences of causing ASB.
The lesson finished with the group discussing case studies of real-life incidents that Police and Project Solace have dealt with, including recent issues at the new play park at the Lannet.
Future sessions will be rolled out with the school to educate young people on the consequences of becoming involved in gangs, using violence or getting involved with alcohol or drugs.
Linden School Deputy Head Teacher, Adele Knight, said; “We believe that our role as educators extends beyond just teaching Maths and English. We have a duty of care to our pupils and this includes enabling them to be safe outside the school gates as well as make positive choices as citizens. We already work very closely with the police, through PC Pete Curtis and he suggested that we take part in the Restorative Lessons run by Project Solace. The children fully engaged with the scheme and it really made some of them stop and think about how their actions, good or bad, have consequences. It is really important to us that the children see that the services work together to ensure a happy and safe community. I would highly recommend this program to other schools, who like us deal with, on daily basis, issues of bullying and the early onset of anti-social behaviour. I look forward to continuing with the lessons as I saw its benefit after only one session”
PC Pete Curtis, Local Policing Area Beat Officer, said; "Working with young children is a very important aspect of community policing and supporting the local community’s needs. We have developed a very good working relationship with the children at the school and this work really shows how young people can positively work with other agencies. The issues that we discussed affect their everyday life, within school and out. I look forward to completing more work in the future”
Sara Taylor, Project Solace and Gloucester City Homes ASB Manager, said; “This is a wonderful example of local children engaging positively with the Police and our ASB Team. Young people really are a key factor in helping to stamp out ASB within their own peer groups and give us a real foresight into how to work towards implementing new and innovative approaches in tackling ASB amongst young perpetrators of the future. I am told that the pupils were very constructive and honest when participating in the lesson, and we are very excited to roll this scheme out across more schools in the area in the new school year.”
GCH & Project Solace are currently working with Gloucester Police LPA Teams to deliver a wider Restorative Justice project in primary schools througout Gloucester. Anti-Social Behaviour Officers and Police Officers will hold assemblies and take lessons with year 5 and 6 pupils in local junior schools to discuss bullying, crime, homelessness and anti-social behaviour, and how they link in together. The project will continue in the new school year up until September 2012.
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