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Restorative Practices in schools can help prevent homelessness

November 13, 2019:

The Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) would like to highlight a solution to a problem identified in research carried out by DCU and the Peter McVerry Trust.

The research found that more than 50% of the homeless men it surveyed had in their past experienced suspension or expulsion from school, which resulted in them missing out on education.

18% of the homeless men surveyed had been expelled from school, compared to a rate of 0.05% among the general population.

International research has clearly shown that Restorative Practices (RP) can be specifically used in schools to reduce suspension and expulsion, with one secondary school reporting 98.3% fewer classroom exclusions after 18 months of RP implementation.

In Tallaght, RP is already being used in one primary school to reduce suspensions – and there has not been a single suspension there for five years.

CDI is currently working with the Professional Development Service for Teachers to expand use of RP in schools.

There is scope for much greater use of Restorative Practices in both primary and secondary schools to help teachers prevent and resolve conflict – and in doing so to eliminate suspension and expulsion.

This would prevent people from missing out on education, and also reduce the likelihood of serious difficulties in later life such as homelessness.

Marian Quinn, CEO CDI.