Southwark Mediation Centre has worked with many local secondary and primary schools to train students as Peer Mediators within their schools. We have also trained university students at RHUL (Royal Holloway University of London).
For the last 10 years we have trained sixth formers to deliver a multi-award winning Peer Mediation project in Bacon’s College in South London. The Peer Mediators deal with hundreds of cases a year and the programme has been recognised nationally and internationally for its success and the impact it has had on the college.
How it works
Each year we recruit and train students to become Peer Mediators. Applicants go through a thorough selection process and, if successful, a 5 day training course and assessment.
Once trained, SMC provide the support and supervision needed for the Peer Mediators to deliver a mediation service for students throughout the school/college. Cases are referred by teachers via email and allocated by SMC. Cases are discussed at weekly supervision meetings and particularly complex cases are co-mediated by an SMC mediator.
The sort of issues dealt with by the peer mediators include:
• Social Media & text bullying
• Falling out / arguing with friends
• Students returning from exclusion
• Parent involvement in disputes
Impact of peer mediation on the school community
Students are able to resolve ongoing conflicts and bullying and focus on their academic work. Escalation and possible fight and exclusions have been prevented. Behaviour and relationships with staff have improved.
Teachers spend less time dealing with conflict and disputes between students and are able to put more time and energy into teaching. There is less escalation of disputes.
Peer Mediators report increased confidence, leadership and communication skills and greater maturity. Mediation skills have helped students to stand out when they apply for university and jobs. Many have gone on to take up leadership roles in the college and to use mediation skills in the workplace.
Youth mediators in the community
Unique to our peer mediation project is the involvement of our peer mediators outside the college as co-mediators on community cases. Our young mediators have been involved on cases involving residents groups, young people, anti-social behaviour, neighbours and faith groups. Their support has been invaluable and their maturity commented on by others present.
2016 LEAP Fighting the Fire Awards Highly Commended for one of Bacon’s College Peer Mediators
2016 LEAP Fighting the Fire Awards Adult Leader in Youth Conflict Management to Dave Walker
How to find out more
If you would like to find out more about setting up a peer mediation service in your school or peer mediation training for your students please contact Mel Bruce, the manager of our peer mediation service.