Circles of Adults Article
Adult Circles of Support:
Reflecting and Problem Solving Around
Emotional Needs and Behaviour
By Colin Newton and Derek Wilson
When in doubt build a team!
Circles of Adults are based on this idea. The more complex the problem the more diverse the team needs to be if understanding and relationships with challenging young people are to be at their best. We developed this approach in the face of intractable behaviour problems in schools, a rising tide of exclusions from school and a deep instinctive attitude that a high number of pupils ‘ just don’t belong here’. Building on earlier attempts to develop group work and mutual support among teachers this model has evolved in which regular meetings are held between a concerned circle of adults, as diverse a group as possible. In these groups emotions are shared, personal feelings and reactions explored as well as deeper understandings of individual young people and what they bring, gained. Aspects of the system which help and hinder are explored, and detailed problem solving is engaged in. These groups are powerful and do make a difference.