School News

Peer Mediation Works!

Promoting Health and Wellbeing through Relationship Education with ​Cool Schools and LtPM, Peace Education School Programmes from The Peace Foundation, Aotearoa/New Zealand

“Conflict is a part of everyday life; it is how we deal with it that makes the difference” Christina Barruel

“Student wellbeing is central to building a school culture where students achieve their best academically.  Research tells us that social and emotional learning, or relationship education, is strongly linked to academic achievement. Relationship education provides learning opportunities for students to successfully build relationships with their peers, their families, and for their future roles in the workplace and wider society.

Relationship education is a key strand in the current NZ Health and Physical Education curriculum. It focuses on building respect for diversity, understanding other people’s needs, demonstrating care and concern for others, and working collaboratively to find constructive solutions to social issues in classrooms, schools, families, and communities.

The Peace Foundation’s peace education programmes, Cool Schools for years 1-8, and Leadership through Peer Mediation (LtPM) for Years 9 – 13, do make an important contribution to relationship education in schools. These programmes engage students in understanding constructive ways of managing the inevitable conflicts that arise in life. They contribute to building student competencies that are necessary for pro-social behaviour including self-awareness and self-efficacy for problem solving in social situations, and demonstrating empathy for others. Students learn to become effective communicators, cooperative members of a team, effective leaders, and caring, concerned members of their communities.

The programmes provide teachers with a professional learning and development opportunity that supports them to work effectively with their students in teaching and learning about positive relationship building. Cool Schools and LtPM assist in creating peaceful classrooms, peaceful schools and provide young people with life-long skills to contribute to peaceful families, workplaces and communities.” (Tasker 2017)

The Peace Foundation provides funds for schools to implement Cool Schools and LtPM. To find out more contact The Peace Foundation on (09) 373 2379 or email Christina Barruel (Head of Peace Education):

Gillian Tasker PhD, QSO

Gillian was the principal writer of both the 1999 and 2007 New Zealand Health Education Curriculum. She has been the national director of many teacher professional development projects, and has lead the development of resources for Health Education particularly in the areas of relationship education, sexuality education, and a range of mental health areas. She has been involved in a variety of research and development projects over two decades, focused on quality teaching and learning in classrooms, often in health education contexts.

Gillian was the Wellington facilitator for Cool Schools and LtPM from January 2013 to June 2017. Currently she works as an international consultant on Quality Education, Policy and Practice, in a variety of countries including several in the Pacific region.

Photo: Hannah and Kurt, Year 1 students from Ohaupo School, are proud to wear their Mediator Award. Hannah says: “I really like stickers. I got one because Kurt and I were playing nicely together.” (Mediator stickers can be ordered online at: