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Reflect training at St John Bosco College

Reflect training at St John Bosco College

Wandsworth Mediation Service (WMS) is pleased to share the impact of our ‘Reflect’ conflict skills workshops for secondary school students, delivered at St John Bosco College in Battersea in early 2024. This programme is designed for young people who are encountering difficulties at school, finding themselves in conflict with staff and peers, or who might struggle with managing their emotions. Over six sessions in December 2023 and January 2024, our trainers worked with a group of 19 students selected by the school. In small groups of no more than ten, participants were taught vital communication skills including active listening, I-statements, and techniques to manage stress and emotions.

We maintained confidentiality in the sessions (with exceptions for safeguarding concerns), creating a safe space for students to open up, share their experiences, and practise their new skills. The training was funded by the Battersea Power Station Foundation and delivered by Louise Shuttleworth, who developed the course, alongside Laura Tweedy.

It is clear that the programme has had a profound impact on its participants. They were so engaged that even weeks later, they continued to ask if they could repeat the training. Andrew Lane, St John Bosco’s Head of Learning, observed “fewer incidents of poor behaviour” amongst the participants after the sessions, and shared that when there has been an issue, they “demonstrated a level of maturity that wasn’t there before”.

The programme welcomed students from Year 7 to 10. To measure the effectiveness of each session, we conducted evaluations, asking students if they felt safe, respected and listened to, along with sticky notes for feedback. We could clearly see the participants opening up over the weeks. Initially shy and unwilling to engage, they soon started feeling safer, which was demonstrated by light-hearted suggestions for improvement, such as “McDonald’s for food”, and unanimous “nothing” by week 3.

As for conflict resolution skills, over three-quarters of the participants said they now feel more confident managing disagreements. One girl shared that she was now able to understand her “red rags” and see what she can do to move from the ‘red’ zone into the ‘green’ zone, to deal with situations better. Participants shared a number of success stories, with one girl saying that for the first time ever she’d “bitten her tongue” when dealing with a teacher, which had very positive consequences. They commented about how much they enjoyed games, discussions and roleplays, with one girl saying she particularly enjoyed “talking and relating”. Another girl said that she felt it was the first time she had felt like adults were able to understand what she was going through and help in managing her feelings. She said she looked forward to the sessions and would miss them.

In the week 3 session, there was a new girl who struggled to join in. She was very closed off and did not want to interact with the trainers or the other participants. At the end of her first session, she left feedback stating she enjoyed “nothing” and learned “nothing”. Her journey by the end was one of the successes we identified because she was a completely different person – really open and engaged.

All in all, the ‘Reflect’ programme has been an exceptional addition to St John Bosco College, improving students’ communication skills and contributing to a more harmonious school environment.

If your school would like to join our waitlist to receive this free training, please email our development manager Lisa Owen. You can view and save this report in pdf by clicking here.