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Mediation and

 Community Support

Enabling people to find workable solutions in difficult situations

Parent/ Teenager Mediation

Through the provision of a trained mediator, skilled in working with parents and children, MACS offers:

  •  An independent and neutral person who understands the issues facing both parents and young people
  •  A key worker who will be able to work with the family on issues (including any support work)
  •  A process which helps everyone listen to and understand each other's points of view, feelings and needs
  •  The opportunity to identify problems and work on them together, finding realistic solutions for the future
  •  A reduction of conflict within the family
  •  Improved communication skills
  •  The skills to deal with future conflict in positive ways.

Where it is clear that the worker is unable to offer the services a family needs, they will endeavour to identify, signpost and help people to access the most appropriate services available for them. The effect of successful mediation can result in less friction at home and more support for families in overcoming difficulties.

Common problems reported by parents:

* Not attending school * Bullying * Telling lies * Constant arguing * Bad language * Aggressive behaviour * Drugs * Staying out late * Drinking and smoking * Stealing *Anti-Social Behaviour *Involvement with police *Running away.

Common problems reported by young people:

*Not being listened to * Not having enough freedom *Not being trusted.* Boredom * Being treated like a child * Always getting the blame * Being bullied * Peer pressure * Fear of not fitting in with the crowd.

When can mediation help families?

When relationships between parents and their children have broken down or are deteriorating When young people reaching adolescence are seen to have a change in attitude which affects their behaviour at home and/or in school. They may also show signs of deterioration in their school work. During these difficult times, relationships with parents can be seriously affected.

When parents or young people request help as relationships have become so difficult that the young person is considering leaving home, or the parent is considering asking the young person to leave. When families need or request help in developing the skills to handle conflict more effectively.

Parent Support

When parents are faced with a crisis and have to deal with a statutory agency such a school or social services, difficulties can arise. Lack of specialist knowledge about systems in the statutory sector can lead to feelings of frustration and helplessness. Through the mediation and support work we can help parents identify the issues, understand the systems, consider their options and empower them to make informed choices in a positive way. Through taking part in mediation or working with the support worker, parents can experience increased confidence, improved capacity to cope with difficult situations and a more productive relationship with school or social services. Schools, social services and other agencies benefit from having well prepared parents with realistic ideas and collaborative problems solving approaches.

Common issues involved:

  •  Behaviour at school causing concern
  •  Exclusion from school
  •  Dissatisfaction with schools responses to problems or provision for young people's needs
  •  Difficulty communicating with schools, education departments or Social Services
  •  Fear of meetings with school staff or other agencies e.g. Social Services and their feelings of powerlessness
  •  Concern about young people's progress in school
  •  Concern about young people being bullied
  •  Lack of knowledge of processes, procedures, policies etc., in education, Social Services and other statutory agencies.

How this service makes a difference

Through the provision of a support worker, trained in mediation skills and experienced in working with parents and young people MACS offers:

  •  Help for parents and young people to clearly identify their problems and issues
  •  Support in preparing realistic plans of action
  •  Support to plan and prepare for meetings, governor's hearings, appeals etc., and a worker to attend with them where required
  •  Advice on rights and expectations regarding education matters (workers are trained and receive ongoing support from the Advisory Council  for Education)
  •  Help for parents and young people in developing strategies for improving communication and addressing issues
  •  Help for parents and young people to develop skills which allow them to communicate assertively, ensuring their views are listened to and taken seriously
  •  Encouragement for parents and young people to work positively with schools and other organisations
  •  Help for parents in ensuring that they are providing the support young people need to reach their full potential
  •  A single key worker who can help and support parents and young people through a variety of issues, providing continuity and developing a trusting and productive relationship

Where it is clear that the worker is unable to offer the services a family needs, they will endeavour to identify, signpost and help people to access the most appropriate services available for them.



Peer Mediation

Peer mediation is a process whereby young people, trained in the principles and skills of mediation, help disputants of their own age range to find solutions in a conflict situation. Using a positive approach to dealing with conflict can be transforming for all involved. Most people experience conflict during their lifetime including children in the playground or during lessons. Developing skills to deal constructively with conflict situations early in life can prevent patterns of potentially destructive responses to conflict becoming established. The impact that student conflict has upon the educational process – from time on task to academic achievement to staff morale is undeniable. Teachers have various tools that they rely upon to deal with conflict including diffusing strategies, arbitration, creating a positive classroom climate, sanctions and punishments. All of these have their place, but are less effective with conflicts that have a strong emotional component. Disciplinary systems rely almost exclusively upon sanctions and negative reinforcements and may not distinguish between disciplinary offences and interpersonal conflict.

Common problems reported in schools

Teachers using their time dealing with conflicts in the playground and classroom. Student conflicts may involve - Bullying, teasing, name-calling, misunderstandings over property, friendships, yelling, physical violence, threatening. Hidden ‘effects’ of which can include - Low self esteem, self-criticism, frustration, anger, withdrawal and disaffection.

How this service makes a difference

  •  By providing key workers experienced in mediation and conflict resolution to work collaboratively with the whole school and develop a mediation scheme appropriate for it
  •  Our workers deliver training on a ‘train the trainer’ model to promote sustainability of the programme and provide on-going support to those trained as they start to deliver the training programme
  •  Helps create a school climate that encourages caring, honesty, cooperation, and appreciation of diversity so that students are less likely to become involved in conflicts
  •  Teaches conflict resolution skills to students so that they are better able to resolve conflict of their own and those of others
  •  Helps in conflicts that require outside assistance as early as possible to prevent them from escalating
  •  Makes efficient use of the school’s monetary, time and human resources
  •  Frees up time for learning
  •  Teaches students essential life skills of effective communication, appreciating the consequences of their actions, generating and evaluating alternative solutions to problems, and coexisting with people with whom they disagree
  •  Motivates and empowers students to sort out their problems collaboratively
  •  Increases self esteem.