Circle of Friends is an approach to enhancing the inclusion, in a mainstream setting, of any child or young person who is experiencing difficulties in school because of disability, personal crisis or because of their challenging behaviour towards others. The ‘circle of friends’ approach works by mobilising the young person’s peers to provide support and engage in problem solving with the person in difficulty.
Circles of adults is a process that ‘listens deeper’ to generate reflective problem solving that can create lasting behaviour change and effective behaviour intervention plans. This is a particularly valuable process for those looking to enhance their leadership and facilitation skills or to build such processes into their school or team approach to complex pupils.
In this course we explore how we have attempted to build inclusive circles of support around individuals and contrast this with a radical approach to hospitality and community building – the Community Circle. The purpose of community circles is to bring people from a local community together to share their skills, talents, gifts and resources. This idea is based upon the premise that ALL of us need three things in our lives to make us happy and fulfilled: these are money, friendship and meaning. We believe that everyone needs community, everyone needs to be heard and everyone needs to have fun.
In this course we explore how we have attempted to build inclusive circles of support around individuals and contrast this with a radical approach to problem solving with parents – the Parent Solutions Circle. Parent Solutions is a brand new approach to problem solving with parents based on our live group work in schools. A focus on challenging behaviour brings interest, energy and commitment.
Peer mediation is an approach to impacting on conflict resolution and bullying in primary and secondary schools by training pupils to be mediators or ‘counsellors’. This well proven, highly effective method of impacting on school based bullying is still viewed by some as radical. In this workshop participants are introduced to the key components of successful schemes. Our trainers have first hand experience of setting up school based schemes and sustaining these over time.
Peer Support as an anti-bullying strategy for schools is now routinely recommended by the DCSF and Ofsted. Many schools in the UK have individual schemes which show good practice within their own setting. However, it is rare to find co-ordination of multiple schemes within a Local Authority , or part of a Local Authority, or even within families or clusters of schools.
Person centred rehabilitation is designed to create a better life for an individual by the provision of an intense input designed to being about social change. This usually entails a series of visits focused on getting the person out and about to increase confidence, social skills and presence in their local community and to pursue goals and dreams. Usually, the work is carried out under the close clinical supervision of a practicing psychologist.
Local authorities are being encouraged to seek the views of young people in relation to the services they receive. Schools and the whole range of support services (e.g. behaviour support, youth offending teams, social services, CAMHS etc.) are being expected to routinely ask young people for their views. This goes beyond involving young people in plans that concern them e.g care plans, individual education plans, pastoral support plans etc.
Many leaders and managers working on the front line of inclusion lack emotional support from Local Authority staff or anyone else despite the challenging nature of their work. There is a massive need for active listening, containment and opportunities to problem solve and reflect confidentially with someone trusted.
One of the most frequent telephone queries we receive at Inclusive Solutions is from parents whose disabled son or daughter is about to make the transition from Primary to Secondary School. Typically there is a tale to be told of LA planning procedures that are too little and too late, and a severe lack of confidence from all parties that the transition will be successful. Little wonder that transfers from mainstream to special schools continue to peak at Year 7!