“IT’S about evolution not revolution.”

That’s how you make positive change according to Auchinleck Academy head teacher Martin Robertson.

The progressive nature of the school’s new relationships framework has forged a new pathway for Scottish schools and the pupils have been buying into it.

Martin said: “You’ll see from the Education Scotland case study that the kids buy into what we do.

“This morning, I had two girls in my office because there was a difficulty between them. One had been talking about the other and one was threatening to hit her.

“Our approach was to get the two kids together and have a restorative conversation. They each get to have their say and then they agree what they have to do to move forward and it works.

“The kids know and they expect that kind of approach. I’m not going to say ‘you’re excluded off you go,’ we fix the problem.”

Depute head Carolyn Devine added: “The young people really appreciate the opportunity to tell their story and be heard.

“Even if they know they are in the wrong, we talk about how they were feeling and what led to the incident. I think they appreciate being listened to and being involved in what they see is a fair process.”

With the merger of Auchinleck and Cumnock Academies on the horizon, the two schools have been working together to build on the successes at Auchinleck.

Martin said: “Peter Gilchrist (head teacher at Cumnock) was head teacher here through most of the developments that have taken place over the last seven or eight years.

“He’s taking a similar approach at Cumnock. There are little changes happening that are beginning to mirror and reflect what we are doing here.

“They are also working towards their Rights Respecting School award and introducing restorative approaches.”

“We also did joint training last session,” Carolyn added. “All of the staff from Auchinleck and Cumnock were involved in training on restorative approaches.

“It’s an approach we are using in both schools. I know that Cumnock Academy have developed their own relationships framework so, like us, they have moved away from a discipline policy.

“We have done a lot of work together within our Rights Respecting School groups and that ties in well with the health and wellbeing agenda and promoting young people’s rights.”