What has always defined Wandsworth Prep, is our insistence that our children’s academic success should never be at the cost of their creative, emotional and spiritual development. In a world rife with conflict, what we must do, is nurture our children’s ability to live harmoniously with others during their time with us, in the next phase of their education, and beyond.
In September 2019, we entered in to a partnership with Peaceworks, to develop how we support our children to resolve conflict through mediation. More generally, mediation, which can be used in a variety of contexts, is a process whereby those involved in a dispute enter voluntarily into an arrangement to resolve the problem collaboratively. By establishing agreed ground rules for the conduct of the mediation, a neutral mediator enables the participants to identify the issues by talking about the situation from their own point of view, to be heard by the other participants, and to say what their preferred outcome would be. Together, the participants then draw up a written agreement. The mediator neither gives advice nor imposes a solution; responsibility and control rest with the participants
The Peer Mediation in Schools Programme, works along similar lines, but with the children mediating disputes between their peers. Conflict is an inevitable part of children’s lives, with the potential to be either constructive or destructive; the nature of the outcome, however, depends on the way it is handled. Peer mediation presupposes that children, following suitable training and with ongoing support, are capable of resolving conflicts for themselves.
Last week marked the first milestone in Wandsworth Prep’s partnership with Peaceworks, when all members of staff took part in bespoke training sessions designed to develop our knowledge and understanding of the requisite skills to support the children in our care to solve conflict creatively and peacefully. Peer mediation, we believe, can change the whole culture of a school.
‘In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity’ Albert Einstein