Peer Mediation is a process where those involved in a disagreement volunteer to discuss the issues and explore how best to take matters forward. It requires them to operate within a whole school ethos, which is itself restorative. Children and young people can be more comfortable talking to someone their own age who understands their concerns and their perspective. Pupils learn to listen to others’ points of view and to accept differences.
How does Peer Mediation work?
In Peer Mediation, the children are trained to act as mediators in a dispute without help from teachers. This empowers children and develops their sense of community and co-operation. The school and classroom become more peaceful, allowing more teaching and learning to take place. Peer Mediation takes place in a structured and safe environment with adult supervision nearby and always requires the participation of two peer mediators. Peers mediators deal with low-level disputes and always refer to school staff when a situation becomes too complex for them to handle.
What does it give the school?
- Peer mediation can provide a safe structure for children and young people to solve their problems and learn to negotiate.
- Peer support can reinforce a positive ethos and sustain pupil motivation, just as peer rejection could turn schools into cold and inhospitable places.
- Peer mediation can build a supportive environment and help to sustain the overall wellbeing within a school.
What does it give the pupils?
All children learn the basic skills of communication and conflict resolution and develop the coping skills that they will need outside and beyond school. Children who are trained as peer mediators develop additional skills in communication, negotiation, understanding and problem solving. Acting as mediators helps to promote young people’s emotional and social skills and builds self-esteem and confidence.
How will Peer Mediation work at Rowandale?
The children are trained in the last term of Year 6 so that they are ready to be mediators when they enter Year 7. The children in Year 7 will act as mediators on a rotational basis. Two different children each day will act as the mediators for Year 4 – 7 in the playground during play-time and lunch-time. If a problem arises which requires mediation, playground supervisors will seek out the mediators to help diffuse the situation. Children involved in a dispute will wait at a ‘Peer Mediation Pit-Stop’ until the mediators arrive. NB: Mediators will only work with issues that are deemed minor conflicts. A playground supervisor will always to be present when this occurs. If a resolution cannot be reached, the issue will then he handed on to the class teacher to deal with. The class teacher will always be informed of the issue, regardless of the outcome.