Many years ago the school and its Professional Development Committee made the far-sighted decision to allocate a portion of its annual PD budget towards a 'study grant'. The purpose of this grant was to allow a staff member to pursue an area of interest deemed central to the functioning and growth of Rosehill College as a leading-edge educational institution. This grant was of a value that allowed that person to work outside of the school for an extended period of time, travel (overseas if need be), and consult with acknowledged people of expertise in their own environments.
To date this grant has been awarded twice before - in both circumstances a staff member has traveled to Australia for the purposes of their research.
PD STUDY GRANT 2007
At the end of 2006 I placed a proposal to the Rosehill College Professional Committee for a study trip to Australia to investigate best practice in the field of restorative justice principles being applied in school settings. The rationale behind the proposal was presumably clear and valid because the PD Committee (and thereafter the Senior Management Team) gave approval to the application, allowing me to begin the study trip in 2007. The outline of the rationale was as follows:
- The management of wrong-doing in schools is an area of central interest to the harmonious functioning of any school, including Rosehill College. Restorative approaches are increasingly acknowledged worldwide as genuine alternatives to the more traditional retributive strategies still seen in many schools world-wide, and in New Zealand.
- New Zealand's Ministry of Justice is world leading in the development of restorative strategies within the youth justice and criminal justice systems with increasing numbers of offenders and crime victims having access to such avenues of redress. Schools in NZ stand the danger of being out-of-step with the progressive moves in wider NZ society towards solving conflict in ways that invest in the future of individuals, and thereby society itself.
THE PURPOSE OF THE RESEARCH TRIP
Australia shares with New Zealand a proud heritage of dedication to the development of restorative practices over the last 30 or more years. As in every other area of life such as business and sport, there is much cross-pollination of knowledge and practice of restorative justice between the two nations.
Informed by learning establishments such as the Centre for Restorative Justice at Australian National University and powered by the work of many talented individuals, increasing numbers of Australian schools are enjoying the benefits of restorative outlooks towards student wrong-doing. Australian schools have understandably created their own 'signature' in the field of restorative practices and as such represent extremely worthy candidates for exploration and research.
THE TRIP ITSELF
Whilst observing the conventions of the Rosehill College Professional Development Grant, I will travel to Australia between the dates Saturday 21 April and Sunday 13 May. Between those dates I will spend time in four states (Victoria, South Australia, ACT and Queensland), visit many schools and meet many inspiring Australian practitioners. My biggest problem has been what to leave out, not what to include.
The itinerary is not 'set in stone' but is mostly complete. Rather than wander aimlessly around, hoping to make the right contacts, I have been given good direction on where to best go by Margaret Thorsborne. Marg is a restorative practices legend on both sides of the Tasman Sea, has done much for the development of school-based restorative practices here in NZ and has worked collaboratively with all of the people who I will visit. Thanks again, Marg.
Saturday 21 April Arrive Melbourne
23-29 April Visit schools in Melbourne Metro region/Geelong/Wimmera region
Sunday 29 April Arrive Adelaide
30 April - 2 May Visit Adelaide schools and sites
Wednesday 2nd May Arrive Canberra
3 - 7 May Visit Canberra schools
Monday 7th May Arrive Brisbane
8 - 13 May Visit schools in Brisbane metro region, Toowoomba/Sunshine and Gold Coast regions
Clearly, there has been no travel planned for Sydney. There is expansive evidence of dynamic RJ practices in Sydney school, but my limited time allowance and the geographic challenges of traversing Sydney's numerous suburbs means that this exploration will have to pursued on a separate occasion.
There will necessarily be flexibility regarding the sequence of schools that I visit - schools experiencing unforeseen priorities, and so on. Accordingly, I cannot publish individual school details at this point (or most probably, ever).
Thanks for your interest. Please send me an email if you so wish.
With Best Wishes to Everyone for a Happier, Safer World,
Bill Hubbard firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of Student Support Services and Restorative Practices Co-ordinator
Auckland, New Zealand