Children at Frogwell School in Chippenham are learning how to take care of each other as part of a new ‘peer mediation’ scheme.
Year 6 pupils began learning about the initiative at the start of the term, and it is hoped that with their new knowledge, they will be able to help younger students facing problems at school.
The scheme gives pupils who are in conflict the opportunity to sort out their differences and agree an outcome with the help of a trained peer mediator, instead of taking their conflict to an adult.
It was set up under the guidance of Sarah Crayford Brown, a mum-of-three herself who also works as a barrister and a mediator.
She said: “Conflict is an inevitable part of young people’s lives and so often they get locked into unhelpful patterns of simply repeating their own position again and again without stopping to listen to the other person with whom they are in conflict.
“This behaviour reinforces the conflict rather than moving it towards a resolution.
“When teaching children mediation skills I am teaching them how to listen to and understand the person with whom they are in conflict and then how to work collaboratively so that they agree a way forward.
“These are skills which they can take back to the family and also into the community and adulthood.”
Children took part in training sessions before the scheme launched, with particular emphasis on looking at both sides of an argument and listening to someone before making a judgement.
Following this, 21 children were chosen to become the school’s first peer mediators, and these children received further training and practice at mediating.
The school now has two peer mediators on duty each day in the playground, and conflicts can be referred to them by the children or by supervising teachers.
Mrs Crayford Brown said: “Peer mediation has some key advantages for the school: it empowers children and teaches them key life skills but it also encourages children to help each other to sort out their differences, without the need for adult intervention, and often results in common sense solutions.”