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Our school used to implement the Peer Support Program and we have some resources that were published in 2001. We want to implement the Peer Support Program in our school again. What should we do?

We recommend that you attend an Implementation Workshop facilitated by Peer Support Australia in order to understand the underlying concepts, supporting research, implementation and coordination roles and to experience the student leadership training.

Any material that is older than 2001 has since been superseded by more relevant, easier to use and more succinct materials, so after attending an Implementation Workshop, it is necessary to also purchase new modules.

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I have taken over the Peer Support Program for our school. We have some current resources, but I have never been trained in coordinating and implementing the program. What should I do?

As long as your school has trained within the last 5 years and has current modules, you are able to conduct the Peer Support Program at your school. However, we recommend new coordinators attend an Implementation Workshop to gain an understanding of the background and underlying concepts of the Peer Support Program, as well as the chance to experience aspects of the Student Leadership Training.

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I trained in the Peer Support Program for my school five years ago. We have current modules. Do I need to train again?

Whilst the philosophy and concepts behind Peer Support Australia have not changed, there has been some development in the structure of the program with specific links to mental wellbeing. There is also current research on the effectiveness and overall implementation of the program as well as an increase in the types of modules available. We ask people who have not had training for 5 years to attend an Implementation Workshop in order to familiarise themselves with the new developments in the Peer Support Program. Alternately, it could be useful to send a new person along to the training with the previously trained coordinator, so they can network and support the Peer Support Coordinator in their role.

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How many other schools implement the Peer Support Program?

At present over 1400 public, independent and catholic schools across NSW, ACT, Queensland and Tasmania have implemented the Peer Support program in their schools. We have recently developed links with schools and organisations in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Victoria.

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Once someone from our school has attended an Implementation Workshop, and purchased resources, what further support can we receive?

You can contact the Education Consultant for your area to arrange a visit (if located in the Sydney Metropolitan area) to assist with setting up the Peer Support Program in your school. Our Consultants can also be booked to give a staff, student or parent talk free of charge if your school is within the Sydney Metropolitan area.

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Our school wants to implement the Peer Support Anti-bullying program. What do we need to do in order to do this?

Because of the sensitive nature of the Anti-bullying program we ask that schools have already implemented the Peer Support Program in their schools for at least 12 months prior to completing the prerequisite Anti-bullying workshop. This is to ensure the effective implementation of the program and an optimum environment for learning. A Education Consultant can visit the school to detail the implementation steps for the anti-bullying modules (if your school is within the Sydney Metropolitan area).

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How do I train my peer leaders?

During the Implementation Workshop the leadership training for the Peer Support Program was modelled throughout the day. The group size (14-16 participants) and day plan (3 sessions) is recommended Best Practise for Implementation. Many of the activities, especially those in the afternoon of the Implementation Workshop modelled activities the leaders participate in during training.

At the Implementation Workshop, the participant received a training folder with three booklets: a purple covered workshop booklet used on the day, a coloured covered booklet (primary yellow/secondary blue) and a white covered booklet which are to be used for Student Leadership Training. These booklets are also included with every new Primary or Secondary Manual purchased, and can also be purchased individually. The yellow/blue covered booklet is the Teacher Training Notes, to be copied and given to every teacher who is assisting with training the Peer Leaders. The white Student Booklets are to be copied and given to every student who is participating in Leadership Training.

The Best Practise for Implementation model recommends that training occurs over two consecutive days, with group sizes of 14-16 students to 1 teacher.

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I donít have enough Year Six students this year. Can we just make the Peer Support groups bigger or only use one Peer leader for each group?

The Best Practise for Implementation model for the Peer Support Program recommends that each peer support group has two peer leaders and 8-10 group members. This has been found to be an effective number for participation, group management and building relationships. If your school does not have enough Year 6 students to become Peer Support Leaders, we suggest that you use several mature Year 5 students. You may wish to train all of the Year 5 students and then use the training days to determine who would make good Peer Support Leaders.

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What do we do when the 8 session module is finished?

At the completion of a module, we recommend that all students who participated in the program are acknowledged and rewarded. Group members can be presented with a certificate of module completion, outlining the skills and concepts covered in the module. This certificate can be found as a reproducible page in the module. Peer Leaders can be acknowledged formally with certificates that can be ordered from Peer Support Australia, recognising the leadership skills they have demonstrated throughout the 8 weeks.

It can also be useful throughout the year to bring the Peer Support groups together, to revisit the connections and relationships that were formed during the sessions. This could be done on sports days, curriculum focus days or any other whole school activities.

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