Children returning to Brook Field Primary School can be assured that playtime conflict and other unpleasantness around school can be dealt with sensitively by a team of Year 6 peer mediators trained by the NSPCC.
The playground buddies work in pairs and use a simple process to help children who have fallen out to find a solution to their problem that works for them both. They also have available a peer mediation room which was launched at the end of Anti-Bullying Week in November.
Collette Langridge, the school’s link governor for anti-bullying and herself a volunteer counsellor, said: “Brook Field has been very open-minded and open-hearted about finding a process that helps minimise bullying. The peer mediation training has given Year 6 children tremendous empathy skills and a level of confidence to help others resolve differences constructively so that issues don’t affect studies and school relationships.”
Collette’s three daughters attend, or have attended, Bradon Forest School where peer mentoring has been in place for several years. The two schools have been working together to share ideas.
Brook Field headteacher Melanie Sancto said important life skills are being learnt. “Peer mentoring is a solutions based approach which gives children early responsibility of dealing with relationship problems that perhaps can escalate to bullying later. It provides children with the confidence to voice their concerns at an early stage and skills they will use as they grow older.”
Swindon 105.5fm community radio manager Shirley Ludford, who cut the ribbon to the mediation room, was involved in a history project with Year 6 children in Spring 2011 that studied Victorian treatment of children. She said: “It was a good example of how children were encouraged to appreciate the present by looking at mistreatment in the past. Bullying was never mentioned but it was the underlying theme.”
Shirley Ludford aunching the mediation room with some of Brook Field’s peer mediators. Bottom image, front, with Bebhinn Langridge from Bradon Forest School. Back, from left, Collette Langridge, Shirley Ludford, Swindon Youth MP Carney Bonner, Martin Winward, assistant headteacher at Bradon Forest School, Dan Clarke of Brook Field, Melanie Sancto, headteacher
Read about the visit of the descendant of Dr Barnado at Brook Field below
by Collette Langridge
It started as a spark
Grew quickly into fire
One minute we are friends
The next I see a liar?
It takes two to tell a lie
One to lie and one to listen
The burning embers now ablaze
The bush flames really glisten
Everyone who gets close
Stands a chance of being burned
All because your behaviour
Is now a way that’s being learnt
The entire class ignited
The trust no longer hot
A place that once reflected peace
Now torn apart by rot
Outside of the classroom
Parent’s jaws begin to beat
They all draw upon their inner child
Throwing fuel upon the heat
Communication starts to crumble
No rescue team in place
You may try dialling 999
But they will arrive too late
The lack of a skilled helper
Or time to work it out
Every time you ask for help
Your characters now under doubt!
So if you’ve travelled on this path before
You’ll know you’re on your own
The fire crew sprayed water
Where they needed to pour foam
Now the blaze is burning
Will rescue teams ever learn?
Is it any wonder we don’t ask for help?
It’s easier to burn
Brook Field interviews Dr Barnardo for radio scoop
Year 6 pupils at Shaw’s Brook Field Primary School had an exciting opportunity to put questions to the current Dr Barnado, descendant of the original charity founder, in an interview that was broadcast on Swindon 105.5 as part of a cross-curricular project about life in Victorian times.
Teacher Jon Stowe said, “the topic spanned history, music and literacy, as the pupils have been studying Street Child by Berlie Doherty, which is about how meeting children in poverty inspired the original Dr Barnado to start his charity.
“Shirley Ludford of 105.5 came up with the idea of producing a radio programme based on the children’s work, so they learned how to put a show together for the airwaves as well. Shirley had interviewed Dr Barnado previously, so was able to re-establish contact and invite him to become involved.”
Pupils Leah Theobold and Rory Horsington interviewed the current Dr Barnado in front of all the other children. Liah said, “we’ve been learning about the great work done by Dr Barnado which was so important because children were treated so badly.”
Rory added, “it was very exciting to interview somebody so famous. It’s shocking to know about the conditions that children lived in 150 years ago. We’re so fortunate that children are cared for and protected nowadays.”
Dr Barnado is a retired consultant physician and former chair of Barnado’s who now visits schools and groups to talk about the work of his ancestor. He said, “it’s really impressive how deeply Brook Field has studied the work of Dr Barnado and the conditions of the time.”
“I’ve always felt a sense of responsibility to talk about Dr Barnado, not least because people don’t entirely appreciate the diversity of his work. For his time he was a revolutionary with enormous courage to withstand the pressure forced on him by the church and politicians. But his strong views and principles are reflected in the way children are treasured now.”
Jon Stowe added, “as well as being academically significant this project has encouraged children to work in different teams across friendship groups. It’s was an important experience as they prepare to make the transition to secondary school.”
Pictured, Dr Barnado, centre, with Brook Field children holding Victorian artifacts and Jon Stowe and Shirley Ludford