07 July, 2012

Meeting School Requirements

There are limits to the range of sustainable provision that schools can make for their students. These limits are defined by the organisation, scheduling, arrangements and practices within the school.
And schools have requirements of their students. To a greater or lesser extent, most schools require students to be
  • at school - all day, everyday (in uniform?)
  • responsive within narrow timelines
  • in class and on time, every time 
  • ready for work - physically, emotionally, financially (with fees, materials & equipment), tasks completed, necessary prior knowledge & skills 
  • on task
  • compliant with school rules - no harm, no disruption & no offense to others 
  • able to acquire necessary out-of-school resources
  • able to complete out-of-school tasks (homework, work experience....)
These requirements are very reasonable for the vast majority of students. However it is virtually impossible for some high needs students to meet these requirements because of the combined effect of
  • poverty
  • ineffective parenting (especially lack of social and emotional learning)
  • fight/flight responses
  • family arrangements
  • health issues (ASD, ADHD, PTSD, various disabilities...)
  • cultural differences
  • fragmented attendance
  • ... 
For many students (80%?) school's requirements are rarely an issue. But, for high needs students the requirements can be an on-going moment-by-moment challenge, especially when things go wrong!!

Restorative Practices can be helpful in acknowledging and addressing these factors and thus help more students meet the school's requirements resulting in better outcomes for all.

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