I have been extremely interested in the Young Talk project led by Scottish Mediation and introduced to schools and organisations in two areas of Scotland. I recently was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend time with Sarah Welsh, Peer Mediation Coordinator and Kathryn Hilditch, Project Officer to understand more about the project and how Peer Mediation has been successfully introduced into both primary and secondary schools.
Peer Mediation is a process by which children and young people themselves resolve conflict in a positive constructive way. It involves two trained mediators helping their peers deal with conflict through a series of mediation steps. It can be used with children and young people of a range of ages. The process is organised, structured and systemic and aimed at producing positive actions and outcomes.
There are many potential benefits for schools or other organisations including
- Promoting a positive school culture
- Enabling participants and mediators to learn more effective conflict resolution strategies
- Easing time pressure on staff by allowing some issues to be resolved by mediation
- Reducing the need for punitive actions
- Providing training that improves confidence and self-esteem
I was impressed with the enthusiasm of both Sarah and Kathryn and the approach recommended for introducing peer mediation into schools including the materials and support available. Not that I really needed it, but I left fully convinced of the benefits peer mediation can bring to schools/organisations with effective leadership and support and the commitment of young people.
I conclude with quotes from schools from the Scottish Mediation website.
“I believe in peer mediation because I see the difference it makes for pupils every day, and I believe it’s a really important thing for our school to take forward” – Jill Honeyman, Head of Guidance, Baldragon Academy
“Peer mediation has had a huge impact on the school, not just in the development of skills the children have in being able to deal with conflict but also in building their confidence and capacity to take those skills and use them throughout life” – Jill Linsday, Depute Head Teacher, Auchinraith Primary
For organisations in Guernsey and Jersey interested in discussing the introduction of Peer Mediation, please get in touch, details on the ABM website.