When we consider what is most important about the issue of assessing readiness, the following guiding principles should underpin early efforts in rolling out restorative practice in the school community.
Genuine involvement of stakeholders in the process:
When the very people who are asked to make the changes are involved in the process of determining Readiness, the process becomes a relational one in and of itself. The feedback sessions regarding the data with stakeholders can be rich and informative giving genuine agency to all members of the school community.
Informed decision making:
Leadership and implementation teams are able to make decisions about beginning the Restorative process, or not, on data that is recent, accurate and informative.
Assessing school relational culture:
Leadership teams and whole school community have the opportunity to reflect on the state of their relational culture using the three surveys. This takes away the guess work about readiness.
The process of engagement has to model and mirror in a genuine way, the philosophy and guiding principles of Restorative Practice; that is, inclusive decision making, active accountability,repairing harm and rebuilding of trust (Karp, 2013) between the members of community involved in implementation
(Karp, David. 2013. The Little Book of Restorative Justice for Colleges and Universities. Little Books. Pennsylvania.)
The Assessing Readiness process consists of the administration of three different surveys, in order,the timing of which will be adapted to meet the organization’s needs.
1. Readiness survey:
The purpose of this survey is to establish whether or not the school is open to and ready for the implementation of Restorative Practice/Approaches based on how change has been managed in the past.
WHO: Staff and leadership only
Questions cover the following issues:
- Need for change has been clearly understood and agreed by the school community
- Consistent leadership support for change
- Expectations and standards for the new behaviours are explicit and modeled by leadership team
- Change has been adequately resourced and seen through to the point of culture change
- Communication about the progress of the change (before, during, and once embedded) is a priority
- Those who have to make the changes are adequately skilled, and consulted regularly about the impacts, barriers to, and progress of, the change
The survey report will indicate whether or not there is opportunity, or moderate or high risk for proceeding with the implementation of a restorative approach. It will also, in consultation with your external or internal consultant, make some suggestions about the next steps for your school/organization.
The purpose of this survey is to establish the way in which members of the school community relate to each other – the culture of relationships.
WHO: Staff, students and parents/caregivers
Questions in the survey are aimed at establishing:
- How people relate in the school – what would be noticed
- How safe people feel in the school
- Whether or not expectations and values are understood and shared
- How social justice is experienced in the school – around issues of equity and inclusion
The report will help the school understand how people experience relationships to be operating.It will highlight consistencies and inconsistencies between and within different groups across the school community (students, staff, parents), as well as areas that might need urgent attention. The report will, in consultation with your external or internal consultant, make suggestions based on the meaning of the data.
3. Organisational climate survey
The purpose of this survey is to gauge staff perceptions of the school’s culture as it relates to the interactions between staff and leadership
WHO: staff and leadership only
- Leadership style (authoritarian, neglectful, permission or relational)
- How staff are managed and supported
- School structure (whether or not it is cohesive)
- What is deemed “success” within the school
Survey report will illustrate the spread of perceptions across a number of criteria as they relate to each quadrant in the Johari Social Discipline/Capital window. It relies on the staff understanding the meaning and implications of the philosophies and practices in the 4 quadrants of the window.
Once you have a better understanding of what may lie ahead for you, the next question for the leadership team is whether or not to engage an external consultant (private or service provider within your system, but not a school/organisation employee), or to manage this change process yourselves (we call this Do It Yourself – DIY), or a combination of both.
Review the options
Our consultants are ready to assist you to roll out your survey or we offer self-guided options. Ready4RP has been formulated by specialists with decades of success in the field.