We began the Peer Mediation service at Bourne earlier this year. Pupils are trained in conflict resolution techniques to help resolve low level conflicts, address bullying, and prevent arguments in the playground.
Peer Mediation is a powerful, positive initiative because it offers effective life skills, conflict resolution tools and support to anti-bullying strategies. This is a whole school approach supported by our Restorative Approach to behaviour and relationships. Our peer mediators are called 'Problem Busters' and are made up of a group of children from year 4 and 5.
How do I apply to become a Problem Buster?
You can apply to become a Problem Buster once you reach the summer term of Year 3. There is then a selection process:
- 1. Complete an application form to apply for the post.
- 2. Mr Bornman (Year 6 Teacher and Phase Leader) and Mrs Winn (Senior SMSA) will review the application forms with the Senior Leadership Team and select 10-12 peer mediators.
- 3. The children then take part in a series of training sessions. This training teaches the newly appointed mediators the correct strategies to resolve conflicts.
- 4. The new peer mediators shadow the current Year 4 and 5 mediators in the playground to gain invaluable hands on experience.
- 5. At the start of the new academic year, once the children are in Year 4 and 5, the new Problem Busters are then introduced to the school during an assembly.
What does the job involve?
Children in the playground, at times, feel they would rather ask a Problem Buster to help them resolve their issues in the playground. The mediation process involves two Problem Busters 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. Please note that physical altercations are always dealt with by a member of staff.
Mediators are required to keep a record of any conflict resolution that occurs in the playground. There is a book where entries should be logged at the end of every lunch time.
What support is given to a Problem Buster?
Due to the nature of this job and the fact that it can sometimes be demanding, support is always on hand. Weekly meetings are held to discuss which strategies are successful when resolving conflicts and any areas with which they require some support.
Our mediators say their important role has been extremely beneficial to the children in the playground as well as themselves. The children’s confidence has improved and we think they all do a fantastic job!