Encouraging peer support to assist young people who have behaviour problems or lack friends in Key Stage 2 and 3, this book provides a description of a peer support programme called Circle of Friends. It includes training programmes for the young volunteers. This book is aimed at all those who work with and alongside pupils in mainstream school contexts and aims at promoting an inclusive ethos and culture - both within each individual adult and pupil and within the structures and practices of the school at a whole. Western Society tends to promote the notion of competition and independence which, in turn, excludes the most vulnerable and creates an under class of those who need the support of professional 'experts'. The hierarchy created tends to promote the notion of an elite - those who are strong, intelligent and have the skills, knowledge and social / emotional awareness necessary to be and remain successful alongside perpetuating and reinforcing the exclusion of those deemed to be at the bottom of the pile. In developing the Talk time intervention, we have aimed to harness the skills of those who are strongest in order to include the weaker members of the school community whilst also promoting a more positive and inclusive ethos and practice which can become embedded within the school culture. "Talk Time": increases the level of acceptance and inclusion of pupils who are currently deemed to be excluded form the peer group; harnesses and further develops the skill of students who are already considered to be highly skilled in terms of providing friendship and support to others; encourages staff to reflect upon their own views and practices in order to develop more inclusion approaches resources and policies; impacts positively upon whole school structures and systems via encouraging a review by the whole school community as to how these can be made more inclusive; promotes a cultured ethos of social support which encourages all staff and students to utilise and develop their own skills in terms of valuing
and supporting others; and encourages the continued and on-going use of 'support teams' in order to ensure the inclusion of all pupils in the school context. It also further develops the social and emotional skills of those pupils identified as members of the talk time group e.g. ability to listen, to reflect, to evaluate, to empathise, to problem solve, to understand, identify and cope effectively with feelings (of self and others), etc.