Peer-support Training and Supervision
Our peer-support systems are usually introduced as part of anti-bullying and stress management strategies in schools and institutions. Students are taught co-counselling with the focus on: listening skills; working in pairs; confidentiality; self esteem games; leading and using a support group; supervision; and an understanding of sexism, racism, ageism and disability harassment.
Teachers in schools are trained to operate peer-support systems in the form of older buddies for younger students; support groups; drop-in-counselling sessions run by peer-counsellors; and co-counselling clubs which would be a valuable addition to the skills of a range of educators from teachers running courses on elearners.com ( http://www.elearners.com ) to lecturers at colleges and universities.
Peer-counselling in this context is when students who have learnt co-counselling, counsel one-way students who have not. Co-counselling is when students who have learnt take turns to counsel each other. Students are supervised by teachers who have been taught the same model. Schoolteachers sometimes set up their own support groups.
The student training is the equivalent of 5 days and teacher training is a forty-hour course, although this can be shortened depending on the institutionís requirements. Workshops and support groups are included where students and teachers from several schools attend and co-counsel with each other. Trained young people or we lead them assisted by teachers in the schools.
The basic course for peer-supporters is 3 days training of about 15-20 students and at least one teacher in one term with 2 follow on days in each of the following two terms.
The course will cover a spectrum of counselling techniques including listening skills and the use of directions, commitments, validations and emotional expression. The theory will include the following: behaviour patterns; healing processes; the nature of human intelligence; and young people's issues. The practicalities of setting up a peer-support system are also be covered.
A mixture of: teaching of counselling theory; teacher demonstrations of counselling; and participants practising co-counselling with each other. Strict confidentiality is essential. Students are taught, however, that should any serious disclosure (eg sexual abuse) be made the student or teacher-counsellor would be bound by the Children Act to refer on the material to their supervisor. Peer-supporters are taught to make this clear at the onset with any students to whom they offer support or counselling.
After the training in the Autumn, Spring or Summer term the students would be ready to set up their peer-support service in the next term which the trained teacher/s would supervise one session a week. If two or more institutions were running a joint project we would lead joint workshops in addition to the basic training. Students and teachers wishing to develop further could be introduced to the LEAP Peer Mediation Network http://wwwleaplinx.com/ and the Re-evaluation Counselling Community Network http://www.rc.org/
We work at any one time in a variety of schools which are at various points of progress towards becoming self sufficient with at least one trained teacher who will train the students to become peer helpers. Many schools are already running their own programmes with the teachers we have trained in charge.
In schools we offer courses to train staff and students to run support groups for students encountering difficulties. For example if small groups of students are identified as having a problem such as being a bully gang or being students who are isolated we could train teachers and peer supporters to run a series of customised group sessions to enable students to improve their social skills.
In workplaces we offer courses to train staff at all levels in counselling skills and peer support as part of projects to promote culture change and emotional literacy.
TRAINERS AND CONSULTANTS
We lead twilight and/or inset day training on anti-bullying, equal opportunities, assertiveness, citizenship and health education to prepare staff in schools and workplaces for implementing the new government orders and guidelines.
£60 an hour plus travel expenses
£400 a day plus travel expenses.
£700 two days plus travel expenses
£900 three days plus travel expenses.
Courses vary in cost from this average amount. Large institutions and government agencies generally pay more than the above but schools, smaller institutions and individuals financing themselves pay less based on what they can afford on a sliding scale.
TRAINING COURSES 2011 and 2012
British School in Brussels, Counselling Skills for peer supporters and staff
Oldfields Hall Middle School, Uttoxeter
Hagely Park Sports College, Rugeley
Homewood School and 6th Form College , Kent
The North School, Kent
These will be of interest to:
Secondary, Middle and Primary school teachers with pastoral responsibilities
Learning support assistants