Learning for Peace Package

Putting peace at the heart of your PSHE curriculum to enrich SMSC throughout the school. This package of support for teachers and children will refresh your circle times, through a structured, but flexible approach.

Building a culture of peace

See how one school is building peace through their curriculum, ethos and peer mediation scheme.
Samantha Duda-Spencer, Year 3 Teacher: "Our Peacemakers circle today is going to all about how we manage some difficult emotions. Anger, which we looked at last week; and conflict" John of Rolleston Primary School in Staffordshire is committed to building a culture of peace. The school has made peace part of its curriculum. Samantha: "What is conflict?" Child 1: "I think what causes conflict could be when two different people have a different opinion on a certain topic." Samantha: "Can you give me an example of that?" Child 1: "Maybe just what to have for dinner? Or what game to play?" Samantha: "Thank you." Child 2: "People have an argument that can escalate and then it can turn into a really big problem." Child 3: "What causes conflict is sometimes when you're walking home, there's teenagers from a high school, and they just start to bully you." Richard Simcox, Headteacher: "Curriculum pressures are really high. It is a really busy curriculum, but you have to decide what you want and our school is led by a really strong set of values. And those values are all about developing our young people, and investing in the people in our school environment, both the adults and the children. And peace is essential, so a happy, safe environment is the foundation — the bedrock — of our curriculum. It means every child can come to school every day and enjoy the learning that takes place. So we have to find space for it. Some of the ways in which we approach peace education is through circle time, through peer mediation, and through the wide variety of sports that we offer, so the children can get along, play together, and enjoy their curriculum." [sounds of sports being played] Ellis Brooks, Peace Educator, Quakers in Britain: "We've been making our films from international peace day, and everything you do at your school for peacemaking. What is the actual narration for this bit of the video going to say?" Child 4: "It's going to say 'we make peace with circle time'" Ellis: "How often do you do circle time?" Child 5: "Usually once a week." Child 6: "Yeah, we did one today actually." Samantha: "...And I think [sorry] is an important word, isn't it — accepting that we might be in the wrong or accepting that we've hurt somebody's feelings..." Child 7: "We're seeing fewer and fewer arguments happening in our school now we're doing Peacemakers." Child 8: "We've learnt a lot about how to handle conflict, because we've had lots of circle times." Samantha: "Who remembers what happens on the magic carpet check-in? It's called, 'an affirmation'. Zach, what to we have to do?" Zach: "you pick three people to say good things about you." Child 9, to Child 10 on the magic affirmation carpet: "If anyone is sad, you always make them happy." Richard: "Everything that plows into education can seem like waves. It's a wave of a new initiative, it's a wave of a new thing. So as a school you decide what you're going to hold on to. Samantha: "You are so kind to people. When they are down, you make them happy again. You are a really kind friend. Isn't that a lovely place to end today? Congratulations, Bailey!" Richard: "So what are the most important things for you? And peace education has a longevity, has an impact. So we've decided to hold onto that with our core school values. [music plays while children engage in photography, computing, art] Ellis Brooks: "I think you've done a great job there. And you've all recorded some audio for that, haven't you?" "Yes." "Yeah" "And the circle in the background, that's for circle time is it?" "Yes." Samantha: "And then you're going to show the class what you have acted out, and then we can answer those questions. What does conflict look like? What does it sound like? And what does it feel like? Oh, very good, this group's started. What words can we use instead of arguments?" Child 11: "Conflict..." Samantha: "I started started doing these circle times with Peacemakers about 6 or 7 years ago now, in a previous school, and initially I was really skeptical of it, and I thought — no, this is not going to work, seven and eight year-olds talking about peace. But actually, just within the space of a few weeks, just doing regular circle times, regular Peacemaker sessions, really did make a difference to those children. They were able to discuss what their conflict was, what their arguments were, and they had some strategies in order to be able to solve those." Children are role-playing a conflict: Child 12, to child 14: "Why did you kick the football over the fence?" Child 13: "You should get it back." Child 14: "We've got about five." Child 13: "So go and get that one back." Child 14: "Oh great." Samantha: "What words did we hear? Freddie? 'Get?' Was it a command, Charlie Ray, were they commanding that person to do it? We did. We heard the word 'Get'. Samantha: "They will be our citizens for the future, and they will need to know how to manage conflicts, how to work together, how to be resilient, how to support and listen. And actually, teaching them from an early age I think really does do that." Richard: "If all children had the opportunity to learn peace-building skills, to have opportunity to take part in a curriculum that was led by peace and supported by peace, then we would have a more peaceful society. We wouldn't have necessarily less conflict, but we would have better ways of managing that conflict." Richard, at home time: "Have a nice evening! Thank you. Take care. Bye! Bye Elena!" Ellis: "You've done great work today. Look at everything that you've made. I liked the Peace Equals Kind message, that's beautiful. And that was quite a complicated animation really, wasn't it." [music plays with children's voice-overs] "Peace is important to avoid war and poverty." "Peace provides a safe environment." "We make peace at our school with circle time." "We try to resolve problems among ourselves." "And we have to be mediators." With thanks to The staff and students at John of Rolleston School The Network for Social Change Peacemakers (peacemakers.org.uk)
Training brings alive the theory and practical aspects of our Learning for Peace resource, so staff are better equipped to put it into practice. By the end of the training, your school will have the tools to be able to address SMSC through PSHE from Reception to Yr 6 through five themes. We work with you to be able to facilitate Peacemaker circles and to understand the purpose and significance of the fun and interactive methods we use to engage pupils spiritually, morally, socially and culturally. The whole package can be delivered over half a term.

What's included? 

  • A planning day with your SMSC/PSHE lead to help plan regular Peacemaker sessions into your curriculum from Reception to Yr 6.  Together we will look at your existing plans and other whole school initiatives so that this work dovetails existing priorities. This includes Rights Respecting Schools, Global Learning, Growth Mindset and Values Education. We believe these initiatives can help each other rather than work against each other.
  • A twilight or half day training to kickstart the project with all staff. This will introduce the theory and the approaches and demonstrate effective circle time for all pupils.
  • Classroom modelling with pupils. Our trainers will come and run a circle with every class in your school to show how the sessions can be structured and facilitated.
  • Classroom mentoring for staff. We will join in a circle with every class, facilitated by the class teacher, and give constructive feedback. We also give opportunities for staff to ask questions and reflect on their practice.
  • Final twilight or half day training. This provides an opportunity to reflect on what has happened during the classroom sessions, and to give further training on particular themes of interest to staff [for example understanding conflict].
  • A copy of the book for every year group.

Peacemaker Courses

Eight, weekly sessions to help children learn peacebuilding skills through circle time.

Pupils develop social and communication skills, emotional literacy and techniques for responding to conflict. 

 

Peacemaker courses can bring enhanced focus to a school’s PSHE and SMSC curriculum.  The courses teach children skills for life, develop wellbeing and strengthen relationships in the classroom. One trainer works with a class for an afternoon a week. Our trainers are highly experienced and will develop a programme according to the needs of the class, drawing on tried and tested techniques and approaches. Courses are usually 8 weeks. Click on the links below for research to support the need for this work.

Becoming Peacebuilders

A course that builds children's confidence to build peace themselves. Includes: active listening and communication, building healthy friendships, recognising and naming feelings, understanding conflict and how it escalates, learning to resolve conflict.

Y6 ~ Up You Go!

A course designed especially for Y6. It preps children, socially and emotionally, for their transition into secondary school and helps build confidence. Children learn about safety, making choices, understanding themselves and their identity, recognising their thoughts and feelings and are given space to look ahead to new opportunities. Children have described the course as an 'adventure into the unknown'.

Peace Explorers~out and about

This course helps nurture peace and wellbeing by helping children explore their thoughts and feelings in the outdoors. The labyrinth is used for reflection and processing, alongside circle games and exploratory team activities. Children learn about cooperation, how being outdoors can help manage 'big' emotions, inner peace and health and wellbeing.

RESTORE

This course is restorative in nature and enables a class to spend some nurturing and nourishing time together. All classes can benefit, particularly those experiencing an issue such as a change in staffing, or classroom dynamics, or a wider such as the Covid pandemic. This course will help children recognise what is happening and think ahead to the future. The course follows the RESTORE framework which Peacemakers was integral in developing. See the link below. Children learn to recognise that people respond to situations in different ways, empathise with the different ways in which people respond to things, how to handle their emotions, including big feelings like anger and anxiety, safely, build friendships and look ahead to new opportunities.

What people say about the Peacemaker Courses

Click here for a teacher’s reflections on how the Becoming Peacebuilders course impacted two children in her class:

 

Peer Mediation Training

Support and training to build a peer mediation service in your school. 

Children are trained as mediators to help resolve conflicts on the playground. 

 

Peer mediators are usually Yr 5 or 6 pupils who are trained to mediate disputes on the playground. A school mediation service is run by pupils, supported by a member of staff. We train up to 24 pupils over 3 days, in line with the Best Practice Guidelines recommended by the Peer Mediation Network. Lunchtime Supervisors are invited to part of the training. The most successful mediation schemes involve the whole school and are supported by senior leaders, parents and governors.

What's included?

  • Support pack for the school to help prepare pupils and staff for mediation. Click the button below to download.
  • Planning meeting to talk through the process and what is involved. 
  • Training for 24 pupils over 3 full days [this may be reduced to 2 days in schools where pupils have been involved in a Building Peacebuilders course at school]. 
  • Peer Mediation Coordinator included in the whole training [more are welcome]. 
  • Lunchtime supervisors invited to part of the training [usually an hour]. 
  • Optional staff briefing to introduce the service to the wider staff team. 
  • Certificates for trained mediators.
  • Follow up session plans for the Coordinator to support the mediation team once we leave. 

 

What are the benefits? 

  • Staff spend less time responding to incidents during and after lunch.
  • Staff have a greater understanding of students’ experiences and relationships.
  • Improved student behaviour and opportunities for classroom dialogue.
  • Children develop confidence, social and communication skills.
  • Children develop skills for life.
  • Children experience the satisfaction of helping their peers.
  • Children have an opportunity to resolve conflicts without involving adults.
  • Children have the chance to have their point of view heard and understood.
  • Children get the chance to find a solution that works for them.
  • There is a more peaceful school environment.
  • Schools consistently report that mediation appreciably reduces the amount of staff-time responding to student conflicts, while the mediators themselves enjoy the responsibility.

What people say about Peer Mediation

Peer Mediation Network Training Approval

To celebrate the massive achievement of The College of Mediators gaining approval for its training, we have comprised a video of interviews with fellow members of The College of Mediators and Peer Mediators. 

Junior Peacemaker Workshops

Excite and motivate your pupils to build peace at school and/or the local community with a one day Junior Peacemakers workshop.

What are Junior Peacemaker Workshops?

These workshops are for a whole Key Stage 2 year group [up to 3 forms] over a day. You choose the theme and we bring the trainers and resources needed to introduce the theme to your school. Use the day as a springboard for in depth work around the theme after we have left. The days are linked to the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Award and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Workshop Themes

Our workshop themes encourage pupils to explore Peace Within [Inner Peace]; Peace Between [Peaceful Relationships] and Peace Throughout [Peaceful Communities]. Choose from:
  • Climate Justice
  • A Sense of Belonging ~ Welcoming refugees and asylum seekers
  • Creating a Healthy School
  • Thinking about WW1 ~ Choices then and now
  • Change Starts with Us ~ Taking action against bullying
  • It's not Fair ~ How can we make a difference?
  • What people say about Junior Peacemaker Workshops

    Junior Peacemakers Workshop guide

    This resource is available to help you run one of our workshops yourself.

    Click here to download the resource
    Junior Peacemaker Events

    We sometimes offer Junior Peacemaker workshops at venues around the West Midlands. These events enable you to bring a small group of children together with children from other schools. This group are supported to become a team of Junior Peacemakers and take their learning back to school. Keep an eye on our events pages to see if we have one on offer.

    Events