STUDENTS at Sandhurst School, Owlsmoor, are to settle their own playground squabbles.

The school will be the first comprehensive in the borough to try the scheme.

"Peer mediation" was tried as a pilot scheme at a Bracknell area primary school in 2000 and proved so successful that other primaries became part of the programme.

The idea is to encourage students to take responsibility for resolving disagreements amongst themselves. A group of between 20 and 24 pupils are chosen by their peers for mediation training. Mediators are in the playground every lunchtime, wearing either coloured tabards or caps or something so that other students can spot them.

When disagreement or conflict between pupils occurs, they attend a special mediation room where two of the nominated mediators help them to sort things out. This is supervised from a distance by school staff.

Andrew Fletcher, Headteacher at Sandhurst School, said: "This project is about taking responsibility and helping students to resolve conflicts themselves. It will help them to develop valuable life skills and take control of situations."