Building Peace and Fostering Well-being: The Restorative Practices at Carr Manor Community School

In a compelling presentation, Tom Shaw, a multi-faceted educator and leader, shed light on the impressive transformation of Carr Manor Community School (CMCS) in Leeds, UK. Through his dedicated efforts and visionary leadership, Shaw has helped in molding CMCS into a beacon of restorative practice and peace education, a model other institutions can look up to.

Tom Shaw is not just any educator. Beyond teaching, his roles encompass research and senior leadership, where he emphasizes character development, restorative approaches, and peace education. His extensive work includes spearheading the project and aiding other UK schools in enhancing their relational and restorative practices.

The journey at CMCS began 14 years ago with an ambitious vision: zero permanent exclusions and an inclusive community. The strategy? Engage every adult in the institution to form tight-knit circles with the smallest possible groups of students. This innovative model was not just about discipline; it was an investment in peace-building and an endeavor to deliver superior person-centered practices.

As Shaw detailed the school’s journey, he painted a picture of a dynamic evolution. Eight years into their mission, CMCS incorporated peace-making practices into their already flourishing restorative approach. Yet, while fostering peace and understanding, CMCS did not shy away from addressing challenging behaviors. The school remained steadfast in its commitment to upholding principles like social justice, safety, respect, and equal rights.

The outcomes of such a dedicated approach? Absolutely remarkable. For a staggering 14 years, CMCS has maintained a record of zero permanent exclusions. It boasts the lowest rate of fixed-term exclusions in Leeds and an impressively high staff retention rate. In fact, Shaw highlighted that CMCS has the lowest staff absence rate due to stress in the entire city. The icing on the cake, however, is the pupils’ feedback. Their self-reported well-being consistently outshines city-wide measures on annual surveys.

But what makes Shaw’s presentation truly resonate is not just the success metrics of CMCS. It’s the glaring gap between such an approach and the status quo. He points out that while restorative practices are gaining traction, embedded whole school examples like CMCS remain rarer than they ought to be.

Shaw’s narrative is not just a case study; it is a testament to the possibilities that emerge when schools choose to invest in holistic well-being, community building, and peace education. Through restorative practices, institutions can truly tap into the latent potential of their students, offering them an environment where they feel understood, respected, and cherished.

In a world grappling with increasing polarization and conflict, the story of Carr Manor Community School, as shared by Tom Shaw, serves as a hopeful reminder. It underscores that when schools commit to restorative practices and peace-building, they don’t just create better students; they shape better human beings.

In conclusion, Tom Shaw’s presentation was not just an enlightening account of CMCS’s journey but a clarion call to educators worldwide. It beckons them to see the transformative power of restorative practices and to envision a brighter, more peaceful future for the next generation.