What is peer mediation?
The purpose of peer mediation is to help children find appropriate ways to respond to problems with others, it is not about telling others what to do. Peer mediators do not "make decisions" but rather work towards a win-win resolution for both sides in order to avoid further conflict. This forms part of a broad and supportive cross-school approach to conflict resolution at Greystones Primary School.
The children learn:
how to be responsive to their peers in a cooperative and
to improve their own and others communication skills.
how to be fair and impartial.
to improve self-esteem.
how to understand conflict and its impact.
to take responsibility for their own behaviour.
How do you become a peer
Children in Y5 are invited to apply in the Spring term. The process requires
the student to explain why they are suitable and 3 referees also give their
reasons for supporting the pupil. Peer mediation training is provided by
‘CRESST’ [Conflict Resolution Education in Sheffield Schools Training] in the
Summer term, where the children learn the above skills.
New mediators are then given opportunities to shadow experienced Y6
mediators before SATs begin and the full handover takes place.
This gives the new mediators vital, hands-on experience before the summer
holidays, meaning they can start confidently in September at the start of the
new school year.
What does the job involve?
Children in the playground, at times, feel they would rather ask a peer mediator to help them resolve their issues in the playground. The mediation process involves two peer mediators sitting in a quiet area with the children involved and finding a resolution. If the mediators feel they are not equipped to deal with the conflict then it is referred to a member of staff. However, our mediators often find that they are able to resolve the situations themselves.
So that everyone in school is aware of the role, some Peer Mediators give a short presentation in both KS1 and KS2 assemblies at the beginning of the year. Later on in the year they will visit classrooms throughout school to remind pupils what they do and to answer any questions.
Each Peer Mediator is given a timetable each month, which shows when they are on duty and where – either the Infant or Junior playground. When on duty, they wear Hi-vis tabards with ‘Peer Mediator’ on the back to ensure all children can see them clearly in the playground.
What support is given to a peer mediator?
Due to the nature of this job and the fact that it can sometimes be demanding, support is always on hand. Regular meetings are held to discuss which strategies are successful when resolving conflicts and any areas with which they require some support. We have termly celebration meetings as a thank you for the hard work the mediators do and in the past few years a group has taken part in the annual CRESST Peer Mediators’ Conference at the Octagon Centre, Sheffield University.
Our mediators say their important role has been extremely beneficial to the children in the playground as well as themselves, learning lessons for life, not just for their time in primary school. It is always wonderful to see the children’s confidence improve over the course of the year and we think they all do a fantastic job!