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Mediation is a process that involves a professional, compassionate and skilled practitioner helping people in conflict explore their options and reach agreements. The process is confidential and designed to help people communicate effectively, to focus on what is important to both parties and facilitate workable agreements.
Why would you seek School mediation?
Conflict in a school environment can be damaging to all parties concerned and have a wider disruptive effect upon the school community.
The parties in a mediation process are provided with the opportunity to have their issues heard in a fair and reasonable way. In schools other methods of conflict resolution may involve a solution or decision being imposed upon the parties by someone in authority however School mediation invites parties to formulate their own solutions, and to take responsibility for their actions.
Who uses a School mediation service?
Conflict in schools can arise in many different ways. The conflict situations that arise can be;
- Student to student
- Parent to school
- Student to teacher
- Teacher to teacher
- Teacher to administrator
Emotions can run high and the challenge is to respond with a process that can manage the conflict constructively and facilitate participation that all parties can learn and grow from the experience.
A request for a School mediation can be generated by the School administrator, HR Department or the parent. People over 16 years of age can access the School mediation service. Quite often the contact is precipitated by a school incident or an ongoing conflict that is affecting a member of the school community’s wellbeing.
The School mediation process provides a safe forum for people in conflict to express their perspectives. Mediation is intended to provide those in conflict with an understanding of what has arisen and to move forward to a mutual agreement for agreed actions.
How does it work?
School mediation is a stepped process that is confidential and voluntary.
It commences with contact being made to the Better Place customer service. Through an intake process the service staff will asses the requirements and will confirm a Mediator contact.
The Mediator will then be in contact with each party to undertake an assessment of the situation and hear their story, this can be done by phone or in person. (Sometimes the situation is not appropriate for mediation, feedback will be provided by the Mediator on what would be a more appropriate service response.)
A joint mediation session is then scheduled between the parties. The Mediator will introduce and explain the process and state the expected ground rules to help the process move along smoothly.
Parties should not interrupt each other; the mediator will give each party the opportunity to fully share their side of the story.
The mediator will ask the parties questions to establish the problem and the issues that underly it. The mediator may restate issues to the parties and will summarize often. The use of a whiteboard or equivalent allows parties to refer to the topics or issues during the mediation. The listed issues form the basis for more effective negotiation and co-operative problem-solving. The topics are expressed in neutral and, whenever possible, mutual terms.
Parties are encouraged to focus on a topic for discussion or negotiation from the list of issues. The mediator encourages parties to communicate directly with each other. The parties’ interests and needs are further clarified.
Parties are provided with the opportunity to express opinions and give information privately to the mediator if they feel more comfortable doing so than in joint sessions. The private meeting can also assist parties to prepare to negotiate, generate options and ensure that particular proposals are realistic.
Towards the end of the joint session when options for resolution have been identified the mediator facilitates final negotiations and fine-tuning of the agreement. The final agreement is intended to diffuse the conflict and provide a new basis for future relations.
The agreement is not legally binding. Feedback to the school may be made with the participants consent.
How much does it cost?
Each situation will vary. The Mediator will provide indicative pricing based on:
- The number of parties involved in the conflict
- Whether the initial mediation assessments can be made by phone or face to face
- Whether one joint mediation session is enough. Sometimes other issues emerge that require another joint or private session. The organisation will be advised of the need as required
Prices quoted will be inclusive of travel time and allow for time to prepare documentation.
What won’t workplace Mediators do?
Our Mediators will not:
- Take sides with anyone
- Give advice or tell participating parties what to do
- Decide the outcome on the participants behalf
- Mediate situations where there are serious allegations of harassment or abuse
Please make an enquiry if you would like to book an appointment for one of our services. Alternatively, you can live chat with us during business hours.