Testimonials

I would totally recommend Dr Hopkins’ training course

If you are considering exploring how a restorative approach can help with relationships in your school or youth setting then I would totally recommend Dr Hopkins’ training course. It was after experiencing this course that I led wholesale changes at my school that have transformed our approach to learning, relationships, curriculum design and leadership. You will only appreciate the power of the training and the very professional after-care support from Dr Hopkins once you have experienced it.

Deputy Head Andy Williams, Monmouth Comprehensive - the first secondary school to have been awarded the RSQM (Restorative Services Quality Mark ) from the Restorative Justice Council (RJC)

A well presented course.

A well presented course. Probably the most well presented and interactive course I have attended!

Aboyne Academy

I have learnt a huge amount.

This course was a joy. I have learnt a huge amount. At the beginning of the course I identified that I needed a ‘supportive challenge’ to give off my best. This need was 100% met. Thank you.

Aboyne Academy

Friendly trainer…

Very pleasant, friendly trainer. Venue excellent.

Aboyne Academy

Insightful tutor…

Insightful tutor who worked hard to meet the ‘needs’ of the group.

Aboyne Academy

Excellent course!

Excellent course - worthwhile and well organized. Wish everyone could do it.

Aboyne Academy

Good Course.

Course good - leader very good.

Aboyne Academy

Interesting, positive and friendly!

Interesting positive and friendly tutor. Covered all questions well. Enjoyed course, would recommend to others. Nice to have time for delivery, often 3 day course are crammed into 1/2 day!

Aboyne Academy

Integrated Youth Support Service

I have been approached by Dr Belinda Hopkins, Director of Transforming Conflict, who has requested a letter of reference concerning the work that Transforming Conflict has have undertaken with, and for, Oxfordshire County Council. Transforming Conflict were initially involved in developing restorative approaches in Oxfordshire over 10 years ago. Following a successful bid to the Children’s Fund which was submitted by Oxfordshire Youth Offending Service, Transforming Conflict were contracted to offer training, consultancy and support in establishing restorative approaches for a number of schools in the county. A county wide steering group was set up to co-ordinate this initiative, and some of the schools involved in the pilot went on to develop a ‘whole school’ restorative approach. Although I wasn’t directly involved in that first wave of activity, I have been deeply impressed by recent visits to 3 of the schools that were involved, where I have found the restorative approach remains embedded and actively practiced by the whole school community. Some of those staff trained by Transforming Conflict over 10 years ago remain champions for this approach, and are going on to offer training to colleagues in other schools in the county. More recently I have been involved with a new initiative, with the vision to spread restorative approaches across the whole county. This has again found huge support from Transforming Conflict. Dr. Belinda Hopkins has offered her time to support the development of a restorative approaches practitioners group, which is working alongside a restorative approaches management group with the aim of promoting the efficacy of restorative approaches in a variety of settings. The management group has identified 3 pilot areas in the county, each centered on a key secondary school (chosen because of a high rate of students entering the criminal justice system) and reaching out to feeder schools, children’s centers, youth workers, neighborhood police and other groups and individuals who are working with the same young people and families. Transforming Conflict has supported County Council staff in developing a training strategy for these pilot areas. Although this is still at an early stage of development, the first pilot school has fully taken on the restorative approach, and a steering group of senior staff at the school are cascading the training down to their year groups, and rewriting school policies and procedures in line with restorative processes and principles. Transforming Conflict are the leading organization for restorative approaches in youth settings. Oxfordshire is very lucky to have Transforming Conflict on their doorstep, and key staff who are taking the Oxfordshire strategy forward have received training from Transforming Conflict, and support in going on to train others in the model. The restorative approaches strategy group for the county have been in discussion with Transforming Conflict about embarking on a longer term partnership, with the aim of helping Oxfordshire become autonomous providers of restorative approaches training, eventually with it’s own training package. Transforming Conflict are supporting the notion of an interim period when the training offered in Oxfordshire is delivered under franchise with Transforming Conflict, and with the guidance and consultancy of their staff. We have found the Transforming Conflict team to be extremely sensitive to our local needs, generous in offering their time and expertise, and clearly out in the lead nationally in terms of the quality of their training model and materials. It is because Transforming Conflict won’t be able to directly train all of the people in Oxfordshire who are now queuing up to be trained that they are open to being flexible in supporting us in developing our own fledgling group of trainers. In terms of evidence of the impact of the Restorative approach in Oxfordshire, the initial pilot was externally evaluated by Brookes University. I have a hard copy of the report, which was published in April 2004, and would be happy to send or fax it to you if it would be of interest. The new wave of interest in Restorative Approaches is also being evaluated, although it is too early to present any findings. If you would like more information about any aspect of this letter, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Peter Wallis Senior Practitioner (Restorative Justice)

Excellent

The trainer was excellent and very supportive.

Brent and Camden PRU

I really enjoyed the training…

I really enjoyed the training and hope that many organizations will follow up with this and change the language of many.

Brent and Camden PRU

Looking forward to putting my new skills into practice!

Thanks for an inspiring course. I’m looking forward to putting my skills into practice at school in some shape or form!

Brent and Camden PRU

A wonderful course.

A wonderful course with excellent delivery. Caring, enthusiastic, thoughtful and respectful.

Brent and Camden PRU

Inspirational…

Inspirational – both the course and course leaders. Would recommend for both personal and professional development.

Brent and Camden PRU

The facilitators made me feel very comfortable & relaxed

The facilitators made me feel very comfortable & relaxed. I feel this helped me learn and to develop over the 6 days.

Brent and Camden PRU

The course was really enjoyable

The course is really enjoyable practical worthwhile & a positive way forward in helping young people to develop their own life skills while showing them respect.

Brent and Camden PRU

Fab course!

Fab course. Thank you. I have learnt lots – and that is partly due to excellent model, excellent course format and also to the skilled facilitators who stayed true to the model in a safe training environment.

Brent and Camden PRU

I would totally recommend Dr Hopkins’ training course

If you are considering exploring how a restorative approach can help with relationships in your school or youth setting then I would totally recommend Dr Hopkins’ training course. It was after experiencing this course that I led wholesale changes at my school that have transformed our approach to learning, relationships, curriculum design and leadership. You will only appreciate the power of the training and the very professional after-care support from Dr Hopkins once you have experienced it.

Deputy Head Andy Williams, Monmouth Comprehensive - the first secondary school to have been awarded the RSQM (Restorative Services Quality Mark ) from the Restorative Justice Council (RJC)

An overwhelmingly positive impact!

Dear Belinda I have no doubt that the introduction of Restorative Approaches has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the culture and ethos of Iffley Mead School. Restorative Approaches underpins our behaviour policy and promotes a respectful atmosphere throughout the school, thus maximising our pupils’ potential for learning. The impact of the approach is evident in the relationships forged throughout the school, and the implementation of strategies such as active listening, reasoned discussions and an acceptance of personal responsibility. Tangible evidence includes a marked decrease in bullying and conflict, and a reduction in exclusions. The school has subscribed to a rolling training programme in Restorative Approaches by Transforming Conflict to ensure that all staff are familiar and confident with the skills required. Transforming Conflict have tailored the training to meet the needs of staff, and the high calibre of the training has been pivotal in the success of the approach. Staff are empowered by the training, which is highly participative, grounded in real experiences and applicable to our context. I have no hesitation in commending Transforming Conflict as a leading practitioner in training and support for Restorative Approaches.

Kay Willett, Headteacher - Iffley Mead School

Durham County Council

In my role as an Educational Development Advisor and member of the steering group for restorative approaches within Durham LA I have known and worked with Dr Belinda Hopkins and therefore her company, ‘Transforming Conflict’, for four years. Her pioneering work on restorative approaches and its practical application, particularly within educational and residential settings, was a key deciding factor in helping us identify the most appropriate provider to meet our training needs as a developing restorative authority. Initially within Durham LA, restorative approaches were championed within the Residential Children’s Sector using a scripted model and training programme from an established and valued provider. However, after having experienced both the existing scripted training programme and the skills based development programme of Belinda Hopkins, it became clear that Belinda and her company could offer us the skills and breadth of expertise we were looking for in supporting the development of restorative approaches both at a strategic and operational level within any setting. Consequently we invested in a long term contract with Belinda and her company. In essence, Belinda is the embodiment of restorative approaches both in her everyday interactions and within her professional role. Hence her support and guidance goes beyond that of a contractual provider in that she actively seeks to build and maintain positive working relationships with the people she professionally supports, as demonstrated through her regular contact and additional support when requested. We are indebted to Belinda for the excellent quality of training she has provided for our school staff, including their respective Head teachers and in particular for her leadership skills in supporting the steering group on their developmental journey and in offering challenge to extend progress and enhance the evaluation of impact measures . Belinda has not only been instrumental in successfully launching restorative approaches within the educational setting and supporting the needs of our pilot schools in terms of training ( thirty two staff) but has greatly empowered our work force with the skills and confidence to lead in this field so that the development of restorative approaches is sustainable within the LA . Consequently, as a direct result of the quality of Belinda’s training we now have competent trainers who are regularly called upon to deliver training to a range of service providers within the county including: Durham County Constabulary, Behaviour Support Services, Access and Inclusion providers and staff from the Residential Service. In terms of the impact of her work we now, as a training provider, solely offer the ‘Transforming Conflict ‘model of restorative approaches having moved staff’s competence levels beyond that of a scripted model. Hence staff at all levels within the Residential Children Sector have received training, delivered by trainers who were originally trained by Belinda. The quality of provision, in terms of restorative approaches, and the development and maintenance of positive relationships and subsequent climate within our children’s homes is currently being monitored through an accreditation system generated and conducted by the Residential training team. Quantitative impact measures can be evidenced through the fall in first warnings and convictions for young people in the looked after system which is attributed to the investment in restorative approaches. Hence PI figures, prior to the introduction of restorative approaches, reflected high numbers of: 3.2 – 1 for young people (which means that a young person in the looked after sector was three times more likely to receive a first warning or conviction). Following the introduction of restorative approaches numbers have greatly reduced and currently stand at 1.44 -1. Further, an increase in occupancy and a reduction in external placements are positive indicators of the supportive climate nurtured through the restorative philosophy. Within the RA pilot school settings, after a year of implementation significant impact is discernable in three key areas: attitudinal changes, ethos development and operational structures. Attitudinal changes: Quantitative data from both pilot schools reflect a reduction in the overall number of Fixed Term Exclusions. Significant reductions of 62% were made by one of the pilot schools resulting in a 49% reduction in days lost to learning, whilst the partner school made a further 7% reduction on an existing low figure. Multiple Fixed Term Exclusion data indicates a low frequency rate in comparison to other secondary schools within the LA. Individual data for the pilot schools reflects a high success rate in terms of students responding positively to intervention strategies, including that of restorative approaches, at this juncture with 85% and 97% of students within their respective schools successfully modifying their behaviour. In one of the pilot schools a mentoring programme, conducted by RA trained staff, for 14 vulnerable students reflected significant improvements in attendance and a 39% reduction in major behaviour incidents. RA trained staff in both schools perceive that restorative enquiries have, in most cases, led to long term successful outcomes as a direct result of increased participation of the parties involved in shaping the outcomes which affect them directly. Ethos development: A paradigm shift of placing the value of relationships foremost and adopting an open mind set is emerging through the facilitation of reflective dialogue (circle processes and restorative enquiries) to enhance young people’s social, emotional learning and a sense of connection. Secondly, a common language, associated with the restorative philosophy, is developing amongst adults which in turn supports consistency of approach through conveying a shared purpose which lies at the heart of ethos development and quality teaching and learning. Operational Structural Change: Structures have changed and are changing within the pilot schools to mirror the values associated with the restorative philosophy and to secure sustainability. Hence, departmental buddy systems and pastoral systems led by RA trained staff have been created to facilitate a range of restorative approaches, resulting in the sharing of good practice across the school and greater participant satisfaction. Following Belinda’s guidance and the need to evidence impact objectively Durham University’s Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring has been commissioned to conduct an evaluation of the project over a term of three years. In summary, there is substantial evidence that restorative approaches are having an ongoing positive impact not only on the experiences of children and young people but also for the adults who support them. Belinda’s role in supporting the roll out and training of staff has secured sustainable internal capacity and heightened the profile of restorative approaches within and beyond the LA. We are forever indebted to Belinda for her continued support and guidance as a lead practitioner in this field who generously shares her expertise and passion for the nurturing of restorative approaches wherever it is welcomed. We fully endorse her work and her company ‘Transforming Conflict’.

Christine White EDA (on behalf of the RA steering group)

Very inspirational!

I will be looking at other training materials that Belinda has written—best wishes for all that you do in the future, you are very inspirational.

Brent and Camden PRU

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