Circle of Friends is becoming a more widely used approach within UK schools and, unlike some other interventions, is not based on ignoring difficult behaviour (Newton et al, 1996).
It encourages the development of a support network for the child in focus within a structured setting, which can also extend beyond that setting.
Those in the peer group are encouraged to look at their own behaviour and also to develop an understanding of the focus child’s behaviour and difficulties, in order to develop strategies and practical solutions to help the individual.
It is not an approach to provide instant friendship, but over the course of meetings and the evaluation of set targets, it is hoped that the focus child will be able to build closer and better relationships with other children
Step One: Commitment to try the method from staff, parents and the focus child is necessary.
Step Two: A Psychologist with teacher support works with the class group using a specific “Circle of Friends” method. The focus child gives permission but does not attend.
Step Three: A Circle of Friends from volunteers at Step Two is established.
Step Four: The Circle of Friends meets and agree interventions.
Step Five: Regular meetings are held with the Class Teacher.
Step Six: The intervention is followed up and reviewed.