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Mark Finnis

Restorative Practice - Relational-Based Schools - Transforming School Cultures

If you could find a way to improve school behaviour whilst also building better relationships and ensuring your school values are actually lived, then why wouldn’t you grab it?

Fortunately, such an approach is within reach. It’s called Restorative Practice and Mark Finnis, one of its leading proponents in the UK, is one of our top speakers and Associates.

Whilst RP’s close relation, Restorative Justice, is an approach to dealing with the fall out when things go wrong, limiting the damage, stopping things escalating and working to ensure whatever happened doesn’t happen again, Mark's work is all about getting the ethos, culture and relationships right in the first place. It’s an approach he not only takes to schools across the country but to local government, social services and children’s services too.

At its heart is the need we all have for human connection, built by genuine two-way communication. And having witnessed the effects of Mark’s input on what was a challenging inner-city secondary school it is nothing short of remarkable.

Perhaps the most striking aspect we observed was the way in which every single human being in the school, from the students to the leadership team to the support staff, had the opportunity to listen and to speak – to interact as a human being, not simply a number or a job title – before 9.00am each and every day.

To achieve this, it’s simply a question of relooking at the school timetable with a will to making, as the phrase goes, ‘the main thing, the main thing’. And as far as Mark is concerned, the main thing is the quality of the relationships that are being built.

Recent titles include:

  • Culture exists in every school - but is yours by design or default?
  • Children don’t follow rules; they follow relationships
  • Restorative practice - it's not what you think it is!

From creating ‘circles’ to foster collaborative approaches to actually living your school values, not just displaying them (remember, if your values are on a lanyard around your neck, they’re probably not your values) to dealing effectively with conflict, there are so many facets to Restorative Practice as shared by Mark. Perhaps the simplest - and at the same time the hardest - is understanding that when it comes to doing things ‘to’, ‘for’ or ‘with’ children and young people, ‘with’ wins practically every time.

All in all, Mark’s work has the power to transform a school at every level. But it’s not a quick fix.

‘Zero tolerance ‘and ‘no excuses’ approaches are examples of such quick fixes that can do more harm than good, especially to the vulnerable children who most need our help. Restorative Practice takes effort but it is an effort that pays off both in the short term by improving the quality of school life but also in the longer term, setting everyone up to understand the power of communication, relationships and human connection.

If you’re looking for a challenging and entertaining speaker who can take everyone’s brain for a walk in way that genuinely transforms all aspects of school life, then Mark Finnis is the perfect fit.

"Fantastic INSET today exploring restorative practice. Powerful and thought provoking in how we connect with every child and meet their needs to be the best teachers we can be"

"Thank you for a very inspiring day. I have returned to work super charged! There are so many really fantastic ideas and thought processes that I want to share with the school"

"Fab last speaker, very authentic!"

"Great presentation and engagement from Mark - common sense approach and content, very engaging and energetic which was what we needed"

"Mark was excellent. Very engaging, had the audience hanging on his every word, and felt very relevant to our work"

"He was FANTASTIC! I really enjoyed listening to him and he was very informative"

"Very well delivered with potential for a huge impact on staff and students"

Mark Finnis In His Own Words


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