The Peer Mediation Network is made up of trainers organisations working to promote peer mediation in schools in the United Kingdom. In 2023 we integrated with the Civil Mediation Council to form a national working group.
We believe this is really important work, and requires a holistic approach: we are schools, charities, businesses and individuals coming together to provide the best possible training and support for children and young people engagin in conflict resolution.
Using our Network, we put together people who need training with local providers and resources. We draw attention to the amazing work of peer mediators and make the case for more commitment to these life skills. Currently we are working on a shared training a approval for peer mediation, promoted best practice wherever you are. This will provide a qualification for children and young people in mediation.
Keep reading to learn more about how peer mediation works and view a list of our members. We also have a map to show you where we are.
Peer Mediators from Bacon's College, trained by Southwark Mediation Centre
What is Peer Mediation?
The peer mediation is in essence the same as that used by adults. Those in dispute voluntarily undertake to talk through a conflict in a discussion facilitated by the peer mediators. The structure is straightforward: ground rules are established to promote a respectful discussion, both disputants have the opportunity to describe what has happened, how they feel and what they need, before finally reaching a mutual agreement. During the process, peer mediators listen and summarise what's said, but remain neutral; they do not judge, take sides or impose a solution. It is those in conflict who take responsibility for finding the resolution.
Peer Mediators operate in primary and secondary schools in the UK, as well as North America, Japan, South Africa, Greece, Turkey and New Zealand.
Peer Mediators develop a range of life skills including teamwork, communication and facilitation, not taking sides and empathy. They're calm but firm, helping everyone feel safe.
Peer mediation delivers a range of benefits in schools: the mediators acquire life skills in conflict resolution; adult time is freed-up from "refereeing" arguments; students at large find more durable resolutions and become more conscious of conflict resolution through dialogue via their participation. It has been shown to reduce the number of harmful incidents recorded in school during break and lunchtime, and the process enjoys a high success-rate according to student disputants.
A student in Sheffield said:
"I went into mediation because I used to get things said to me. The peer mediators were really helpful, they said how we could sort it out and we both came up with ideas and now I don’t get things said to me any more."
A UK survey of schools showed teaching staff felt peer mediation was the most effective peer-led strategy to reduce bullying. All students can develop resilience as active participants in a mediation.