The Peaceful Schools Project 

An opportunity for Bristol Quakers

Learn how to deliver the project in an on-line workshop, via Zoom, for six hours over six weeks. The aim is to build our skills and confidence to deliver the Peaceful Schools project to primary schools in Bristol.

About the programme

The Peaceful Schools Project was an initiative of Mid-Wales Area Quaker Meeting, but it is not about Quakerism. It is a response to the culture of violence and hostility in society, as evidenced in violent video games, and as expressed in bullying in our schools and on our streets. Its aim is to create a peaceful atmosphere in schools where pupils treat each other with respect, work co- operatively, and resolve problems constructively.

The project has developed as a 6-hour programme to be delivered in 1 hour sessions over 6 weeks, or as an intensive programme in 1 week. Initially, ground rules are established – listening, respecting, sharing, and confidentiality. This is followed by basic conflict resolution work, starting with the individual and working outwards – feeling OK about ourselves, handling our own anger, being aware of how overlapping and complex ‘in-groups’ and ‘out-groups’ are; then moving to handling bullying and other people’s anger and aggression. The students are encouraged to develop an awareness of different perceptions of situations and to recognise the challenges of decision-making, as well as the potential of co- operation and mediation. Much of the work is done in circle time, or in small groups. By using a mixture of talking, sharing, exercises and games, as well as quiet periods and mindful breathing, the pupils develop the skills to handle their own stresses. Stories are used to focus attention on particular issues. The form staff are present and engaged with the programme.

The programme has been well received by schools and the local inspectorate. It is offered free to schools and is focused on primary years (3, 4, 5 and 6). Although a very minor input to the school week, feedback from the 85 programmes delivered so far show that the work extends further, both because teachers pick up on the approach and because the children refer back to it.

Since schools re-opened, there has been a great deal of interest in continuing to use the programme, especially because teachers have increased concerns about pupils’ mental wellbeing. Because of health and safety restrictions, going into schools is more difficult for volunteers, so the programme is being modified in order that it can be delivered via Zoom.

The programme in Bristol

Helen Porter, who has been involved in the Peaceful Schools project from the start, has offered to run a series of Zoom workshops, initially to take us through the programme and then to introduce the skills and techniques volunteers have found helpful. She is offering a course of hour-long sessions, one a week for six weeks, with the possibility of some extra sessions if necessary. The aim is to train adults sufficiently to run the programme. There are no costs involved, although Helen may recommend some books and materials we would find useful. We would like to run the course with a group of 8 – 10 people.

How to sign up

Please get in touch with Jenni Harris at