The St Leonards Academy has recently been at the centre of a new and exciting initiative to allow the students to explore their own problems, and pitch their own solutions to them.
The scheme involves 11 dedicated Year 10 volunteers who underwent extensive training from a specialist trainer from the charity Conflict Resolution Education Sheffield Schools Training (CRESST). The students involved learned specialist methodology designed so that the coach can allow the participant to take a step back and put into perspective their own issues with a view to resolving things themselves.
The new conflict coaches were told about the three main principles of conflict coaching: impartiality, confidentiality and ownership. Students were also educated about the main skills of an effective coach – listening, reflecting back and questioning – which are too often sidestepped in today’s fast-paced society.
In the coming weeks, the new coaches will be taking referrals internally around the school, in partnership with the teaching staff who will spot issues arising in the student body, and recommend that a student make an appointment with a coach. Future development of this scheme will see the student conflict coaches creating their own self-sufficient body of coaches, in charge of their own appointment making, branding around the school, public speaking in front of other students, and ultimately the training of a new team of coaches as they go into the final year of their GCSEs.
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