Relationships are integral to the Santa Maria College community. Restorative Practices is a community approach to positive and healthy relationships. Restorative Practices emphasises the strength and potential of each member of the community and focuses on moving forward together after an issue has arisen. Through a restorative philosophy we believe that relationships can be restored where all community members feel heard and supported through the process of healing.

It is through a Restorative Practices approach that we endeavour to build a stronger community founded on respectful relationships. The Restorative Practices philosophy, which aligns with our Benedictine Tradition, provides our students with the opportunity to develop self-awareness and positive behaviours within a caring and supportive environment. As a Good Samaritan school, we develop right relationships through effective teaching and learning, offering hospitality and valuing the dignity of each person. The core values of Restorative Practices are Forgiveness, Love, Reconciliation, Compassion, Empathy and Respect.

As a school founded in the Catholic tradition, we believe that our approach to student behaviour management should primarily be an educative one. The fundamental aim of our behaviour management philosophy is for students to learn to take personal responsibility for their actions and to make genuine, positive contributions to their community.

Restorative Practices is:

  • An approach to the management of inappropriate behaviour
  • A way to achieve positive outcomes for students, teachers, families and the school community
  • Useful in addressing a range of incidents
  • Helpful for students to learn from their mistakes, reconcile and resolve problems with others
  • A strategy for enhancing pathway planning for young people

Restorative Practices is focused on helping young people become aware of the impact of their behaviour on others. An important component of Restorative Practices is the focus on restoring relationships after harm has been done. A restorative approach sees conflict or wrong-doing as an opportunity for students to learn about the consequences of their actions or behaviour, to develop empathy for others, and to seek to repair the harm in such a way as to strengthen the community. Through developing empathy, students learn to become more positive and supportive members of their community. Restorative Practices is a ‘firm but fair’ approach to behaviour management.

The Principles of Restorative Practices are to:

  • Foster awareness in the student of how others have been affected without scolding or lecturing
  • Involve the student actively by using collaborative language and joint problem solve to enhance responsibility
  • Agree to accept ambiguity if fault is unclear
  • Separate the deed from the doer
  • See every serious instance of wrong-doing and conflict as an opportunity for learning and building empathy
  • Engage parents