A pioneering peer mediation scheme run by pupils is under way at Chilton Primary School in Ramsgate.
The initiative was launched at the start of this term when the 12 trained peer mediators from Year 5 were introduced to the school at a special assembly.
Two members of the team are on call on a duty rota system to cover the playground each day.
Their role includes listening to disputes and discussing issues with the pupils involved with the aim of reaching a fair and friendly solution. Any situations that they are not confident to deal with will be referred to the adult lunchtime playground supervisors for further action.
The scheme is run under the guidance of the Dover and Shepway Mediation Service which is now operating in the Thanet area.
Pupils keen to take part had to apply formally to Deputy Head of School Natalie Barrow who introduced the project to Chilton.
She said: “The applications were considered by myself and the Year 5 teachers and after careful consideration we choose our group.
“The pupils took part in a series of training sessions with the Mediation Service last term to make sure they were capable of resolving a number of different yet common issues children face. It has given them confidence to conduct the meetings in a fair, balanced and effective manner.
“Chilton is the first school in the area to work with this mediation service. It is an excellent scheme and our peer mediators are settling into their roles very well.
“They are taking it sensibly and seriously and are keen to help pupils who come to them. They can also have children referred to them for their assistance by the lunchtime supervisors if the situation is relevant.
“It is a great way of learning important life skills as they develop as people and it will stand them in good stead when they go to secondary school, university, college, employment and beyond.
“They are reinforcing our school values and play an important citizenship role in our learning community.”
The mediators have already met with the school’s midday meals supervisors to explain their roles and how they can help them during the busy lunch sittings if necessary.
The mediators said: “We learnt a lot at the training sessions and it was really useful to have examples of the type of things we may face. Our aim is to make sure that all our pupils have a happy lunchtime in the playground and that any problems are solved quickly and fairly.”
Photographs of the peer mediators will be displayed in school to help pupils identify them easily.