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Peer support programme launched

As the pace of life quickens, the pressures our children face increase exponentially. To add another level of support for our students, Haileybury has instituted a peer support system, a student-led programme which will see 30 senior students being trained to provide help to pupils in anything from friendship problems to school work troubles.

Explains Senior Mistress, Tana Macpherson-Smith: "Clinics will be run three times a week, during which students who are experiencing difficulties can talk to the peer supporters. These sessions will be especially beneficial to those who may not yet want to take their troubles to a teacher.

"The peer supporters will be trained as listeners, and will be taught how to deal with problems and how to encourage pupils to seek adult help where necessary."

The scheme will not only improve leadership skills among senior pupils, but will also strengthen relationships vertically through the year groups.

The clinics will be held three times a week, but the peer supporters will technically be on duty 24 hours a day and will be trained to pick up any problems they may notice, either in class or in the houses. They will work in three teams, and will be overseen by Mrs Macpherson-Smith, Miss Andrew and Mr Grundy.

Allied to this programme, four of the peer supporters will also be trained as reader listeners to work with individual pupils who feel uncomfortable about having to read aloud in class. Pupils may sign up for these sessions themselves or may be referred by teachers.

"These kinds of programmes have proved incredibly successful in other schools and we hope they will make our pupils feel as though there is always someone to talk to," continues Mrs Macpherson-Smith.

The pupils themselves have enthusiastically adopted the idea, and staff were inundated with applications from pupils in Upper School who wanted to be trained as peer supporters.

The clinics will take place on Mondays from 4.30 – 5.30pm, Tuesdays from 1 – 2pm and on Saturdays from 11.40am – 12.40pm.