Past Evaluations of Writing Wrongs

Article in The Teacher


Our school came into existence five years ago with the amalgamation of two single-sex schools. We were all crammed into one dilapidated building

while a new school was built. We have 960 students and aim to reach 1,050.  Last year on an Inset day we learnt about how teachers can use restorative

justice to help students understand the impact their actions have on others.  I felt it was something we could get involved in and two of our staff attended

restorative practice training.  At the same time the Writing Wrongs team, who had devised a multimedia resource pack to help teachers, contacted the school.

Writing Wrongs is aimed at students and how they can approach difficult situations or conflict in a restorative manner. We were attracted by the philosophy

of the scheme and agreed to try the programme with our year 9 students.  There was a group whose behaviour in year 8 had been quite challenging, so it

was an ideal starting point.  We used the tools in PSHE/citizenship classes once a week for six weeks.  The Writing Wrongs pack includes interactive activities

and case studies.  The programme generated a lot  of discussion among the pupils.  They took a hand-on and practical  approach to help students identify the

consequences of their actions.  Students were happy to talk about  issues, consequences and the impact of their actions – for example, a disagreement between

students, or at home. In one case where a student had had an argument with a teacher, the student came up with a solution. In another, two students who had

fallen out were able to understand the impact their behaviour had had on other pupils and resolved their conflict for the good of the class. Everyone was positive

about the experience and we are now running the programme with year 8, with similar outcomes. The best news for us is that internal exclusions have reduced

by 50 per cent in a year and we have one of the highest pupil attendance records in Lancashire. Our recent Ofsted inspection gave our care, guidance and support

an outstanding report. I am a firm believer in the restorative approach. It is extremely powerful and teaches pupils to take responsibility for their actions and how

they can put right a wrong.

Helen Campbell is Assistant Head at Sir John Thursby Community College, Burnley