School Behaviour Partnership in the North

Department of Education
30 October 2012

General Manager, Learning Services (North)

An innovative partnership, between Tasmania Police and the Department of Education’s Learning Services (North), based on the principles of Restorative Practice, is one response in addressing physical violence in schools.

Introduced in 2009, the vast majority of schools in northern Tasmania now employ some form of Restorative Practice when dealing with harmful or inappropriate behaviour, and this is supported by Police with a similar approach.  

“Restorative justice aims to rehabilitate students who have committed incidents of violent or other serious behaviour at schools and re-direct them toward the goal of becoming responsible citizens. It’s a process that seeks to involve those affected by harmful behaviour, by providing an opportunity for the parties to meet and communicate, to consider the harm caused and discuss ways it can be repaired.

Students are encouraged to learn from their mistakes in a supportive environment, to take responsibility for their actions, and improve their future behaviour. It is a far more positive and successful alternative to suspension (for example) as it gives the young person an opportunity to understand the harm they have caused through their actions.

General Manager Learning Services (North) Laurie Andrew said that Learning Services North and Tasmania Police had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to send a clear message that violent behaviour in Tasmanian schools was unacceptable.

“We believe this is a far better approach when dealing with young people than simply imposing a consequence and expecting their behaviour to change as a result of that consequence.” 

Under the partnership, principals are also being encouraged to adopt the restorative practice model in resolving lower level incidents that are not required to be reported to police.

The Restorative Justice model has been successfully implemented in a number of cities around the world and where this has been adopted, schools have reported significant decreases in physical and verbal abuse, disruptive behaviour and staff absences.

For more information, contact Laurie Andrew on 6336 2596 or the Early Intervention Youth Action Unit on 6336 3844.

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