Restorative practices

Restorative practice is a whole school teaching and learning approach that encourages behaviour that is supportive and respectful. A restorative approach focuses on building, maintaining and restoring positive relationships, particularly when incidents that involve interpersonal conflict or wrongdoing occur.

Information about this resource

This resource supports teacher and school needs by providing:

  • high quality resources to support implementation of prevention focussed, positive behaviour care continuum
  • supports for all students at their point of need

This resource provides schools, teachers, students and parents with the supports and resources needed to understand the Care Continuum, including a resource hub which:

  • defines restorative practice

  • describes types of restorative practices (including informal restorative practices, circles, social-emotional learning, conflict resolution programs, peer mediation and community service)

  • provides guidance on how to implement restorative practices at both a whole-school and classroom level

  • provides lesson plans to explicitly teach social-emotional and resilience skills

  • provides lesson plans for conflict resolution skills

  • provides good practice guidelines for implementing peer mediation programs, student training guide and student workbooks.



Professional audience


All staff and school settings across NSW, regardless of size, context and geographic location.

This resource can be used without assistance, as a stand-alone resource and/or linked to professional learning.

Student audience

All students P-12. A restorative approach contributes to the wellbeing of all students.

When to use

Restorative practice can be used to support student behaviour and wellbeing across the care continuum at a whole school and classroom level.

This resource can be used to support the development of the School Behaviour Support and Management Plan and as part of an ongoing whole-school approach.

It can also be used by school learning and support teams and individual teachers to provide guidance on implementing restorative practice.


Can be used at any time when individual students require additional assistance.


System priorities and/or needs

This resource aligns with:

  • the Premier’s Priorities to improve outcomes in literacy and numeracy and HSC attainment.

  • Our Plan for NSW Public Education’s direction and priorities of strengthening student wellbeing and development and advancing equitable outcomes, opportunities and experiences.

  • Need identified by Delivery Support, particularly behaviour specialists, to build teacher and leader capacity in understanding and using restorative practices.


School Excellence Framework

  • Learning domain – Wellbeing (caring for students, a planned approach to wellbeing, individual learning needs, behaviour)
  • Teaching domain – Effective classroom practice (classroom management).


Relevant frameworks

Existing resources

  • Behaviour support toolkit resources and professional learning, particularly, classroom practice, understanding and managing behaviour, and the care continuum.
  • Student Behaviour Policy
  • CESE literature review Classroom management: Creating and maintaining positive learning environments, and Trauma-informed practice in schools: an explainer.

  • Trauma-informed practice for improved learning and wellbeing – modules 1 to 4. Search in MyPL  (staff-only) for ‘trauma informed practice’.

  • Supported online learning courses

Consulted with: Delivery Support team, Aboriginal Partnerships and Outcomes, Inclusion and Wellbeing as part of the development of the behaviour support toolkit.

Review by: Behaviour Services

Last updated:January 2024


Restorative practices


Fisher D., Frey N., Smith D., (2016) Better than carrots or sticks: Restorative practices for positive classroom management. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.

Gossen, D. (1996) Restitution: Restitution: Restructuring School Discipline. New View Publications.

Hopkins, B., & Masters, G. (2003). Just Schools: A whole-school approach to restorative justice. Anthenaeum Press.

New Zealand Ministry of Education, (2014). Restorative Practice KETE Book 2.

Research from the United Kingdom by Belinda Hopkins


Conflict resolution and peer mediation


Cohen, R. (1995). Students resolving conflict: Peer mediation in schools. Glenview, Illinois: Goodyear Books.

Stern, F. (1998) Mediation in Schools Training Manual, Peer Resource Consulting: Northcote.

Englander, E.K., When should you hesitate to mediate? Bridgewater State College.

Thompson, F. and Smith, P.K., The Use and Effectiveness of Anti-bullying Strategies in Schools, Goldsmiths, University of London. ile/182421/DFE-RR098.pdf


Social-emotional learning


Ashdown, D., & Bernard, M. (2012). Can Explicit Instruction in Social and Emotional Learning Skills Benefit the Social-Emotional Development, Well-being, and Academic Achievement of Young Children? Early Childhood Education Journal, 39, 387-405.

Australian Government. (2005). Disability Standards for Education 2005.

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) (2014). Australian professional standards for teachers. 

Centre for Education and Statistics and Evaluation (2020). Classroom management - Creating and maintaining positive learning environments, NSW Department of Education. 

Department of Education, S. and E.-D. Library. (2020, February 18). The Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration | Department of Education, Skills and Employment - Document library, Australian Government. 

Eisenberg, N. (2006). Prosocial Behavior. In G. G. Bear & K. M. Minke (Eds.), Children's needs III: Development, prevention, and intervention (pp. 313–324). National Association of School Psychologists.

Emmer, E., & Sabornie, E. (Eds.). (2014). Handbook of classroom management. New York: Routledge.  

Mares, J. (2017). Prosocial Behaviour Education in Children, Acta Educationis Generalis, Volume 7 (Issue 1).

Pearce, N., Cross, D., Epstein, M., Johnston, R., & Legge, E. (2019) Strengthening school and system capacity to implement effective interventions to support student behaviour and wellbeing in NSW public schools: An evidence review. Telethon Kids Institute: Perth, Western Australia.

Schonert-Reichl, K. (2017) Social and Emotional Learning and Teachers. The Future of Children Journal,27 (1), 137-155.

Scott, T. M., Park, K. L., Swain-Bradway, J., & Landers, E. (2007). Positive behaviour support in the classroom: facilitating behaviorally inclusive learning environments. International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, 3(2), 223-235.  

State of New South Wales (Department of Education) 2019. School Excellence Framework – Version 2




Bonnel, C., et al., (2018) Effects of the Learning Together intervention on bullying and aggression in English secondary schools (INCLUSIVE): a cluster randomised control.

Clifford. A. Teaching Restorative Practices with Classroom Circles. Center for Restorative Process. Developed for San Francisco Unified School District.

Dobia, B., et al. (2019) Social and emotional learning: From individual skills to class cohesion. Educational and Child Psychology. Vol. 36, No.2 78-90

Drewery, W. (2016). Restorative Practice in New Zealand Schools: Social development through relational justice. Educational Philosophy and Theory, Vol. 48, No. 2, 191–203.

McMahon, S., et al. (2017) Lessons from the AIME approach to the teaching relationship: valuing biepistemic practice. Pedagogy, Culture & Society. Vol 25, No.1, 43-58

Morrison, B.E., & Vaandering, D. (2012). Restorative Justice: Pedagogy, Praxis, and Discipline. Journal of School Violence, 11:138-155.

Oassarella, A. (2017). Restorative Practices in Schools. John Hopkins School of Education.

Oakfield Unified School District.

Roffey, S., & McCarthy, F. (2013). Circle Solutions, a philosophy and pedagogy for learning positive relationships: What promotes and inhibits sustainable outcomes? The International Journal of Emotional Education. Vol 5, No.1, 36-55

Wachtel, T. (2016). Defining Restorative. International Institute for Restorative Practices.

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