Peer Mentors. Who are we? What do we do? Why do we do it?
Our Peer Mentors are a group of students who volunteer to support other students through their transition into secondary school and their Key Stage 3 provision. They mentor these students to address issues such as attendance, under achievement, bullying and friendships and enable them to address their individual problems in a mature and emotionally intelligent way.
Our Peer Mentors are visible around the school, they are available for all to self-refer to, but also work one to one with vulnerable students referred to the programme by concerned teaching staff and parents.
Our Peer Mentors are the first intervention in an integrated inclusion system and as such build staff capacity for the most challenging cases and address minor issues before they develop into crisis situations.
Peer Mentors are
The Peer Mentoring, within Rhosnesni, effects well-being and has a positive impact for several different cohorts:
- Those receiving the help of a Peer Mentor show improved self-esteem and robustness.
- Those training as Peer Mentors develop a language of empathy and a confidence in their ability to help other.
- Those working as Peer Mentors show greater maturity and understanding and a pride in their role that improves their aspirations for the future.
- All students show the effects of being surrounded by emotionally intelligent peers who diffuse aggression and provide role models for success.
The Peer Mentors also impacts whole school by:
- Creating a team ethos, where students work with the staff base to support others through difficult times
- Raising school profile – Rhosnesni has won regional and national award for the Peer Mentor scheme and have delivered presentations at several conferences (RAISE, iNET, NQT’s – Wrexham, NSPCC, CAMHS, Anti bullying steering committee)
- Creating positive and aspirational role models, Head Peer Mentors working alongside Head boy and Head girl with equal status and responsibility.
Peer Mentoring prepares learners to be personally and socially effective, it improves both inter and intra personal intelligence and builds the capacity to empathise.
In addition, it provides learning experiences in which all can develop and apply life skills, explore their personal attitudes and values and acquire a maturity to face the challenges of adult life.
Specifically the aims of Peer Mentoring are to:
- Develop self-esteem and intra personal skills
- Promote self-respect and respect for others.
- Equip mentors and mentees to make choices that promote safe and healthy lives.
- Empower students to participate in their schools and have confidence in their opinion.
- Raise aspirations by providing a non-traditional platform for success within a school environment.
- Allow opportunities for change, a supported environment to shed learning apathy , poor behaviour perceptions and recreate self-belief.
Peer Mentors. How do we do it?
We currently have 85 Peer Mentors in Year 10 and 11. In addition to this we have a strong Peer Mentor Leadership team consisting of three Head Peer Mentors and two Deputy Head Peer Mentors. This leadership team play a crucial part in the smooth day to day running of the scheme.
After the initial Peer Mentor training, which usually takes place just after the Easter half term, their first official role takes place on the common transfer day in July. The newly trained Peer mentors spend the day helping and supporting the younger students they will be helping in September.
From September, the Peer Mentors take it in turns, on a rota basis, to facilitate a drop-in/quiet/safe room every day, for Year 7’s at break and lunch time. Apart from facilitating the drop-in room, the Peer Mentor team is split into various roles.
The Year 10 Peer Mentors support a Year 7 form one morning a week during registration. However, due to the number of Peer mentors, they are split between two days. Some go on Tuesday and some on Friday and they stay with their Year 7 form throughout the whole school year, helping and supporting in any way the form tutor or the younger students need them to.
Once the students move on to Year 8 the Peer Mentors who supported them throughout Year 7, continue to help with the transition from Year 7 to Year 8. The Peer Mentors stay with their form until the October half term, helping them settle into Year 8. Most of the work of a Peer Mentor is done during Year 10 and up to the October half term of Year 11. After this, we feel it is more important for the Year 11’s to concentrate of their GCSE work and let the next up and coming Year 10 take over.
The only exception to this are the Year 11 leadership team of Peer Mentors who apply for a role within the leadership team. Their written applications are looked at and any suitable candidates are selected to attend a panel interview. From this, the panel decide who they think is most suitable for which position within the leadership team.
Do Peer Mentors make a difference?
We believe that YES we most definitely do make a difference.
When a younger student starts to work with a Peer Mentor on a one to one basis, a letter is sent home to parents/ guardians to inform them of this (see appendix). It explains who the Peer mentors are, what they do in school and the different issues they can help and support with. It also gives my contact name and number should they have any further questions or concerns.
One to one Peer Mentoring usually lasts for a minimum of 6 sessions, although it con continue for longer if the mentee requests it. At the end of the one to one Peer Mentoring we ask the younger student to complete an evaluation form, with seven questions (see appendix) and we give them an evaluation form to take home for the parent/guardian to complete.
The following information relates to the students that were supported on a one to one basis by a peer Mentors
“the peer mentor has been a great help to my daughter, she has also made a good friend”
“very pleased with the support, a great scheme. Thank you”
“put my mind at rest!”
“My daughter wants to be a peer mentor when she is older!”
“he feels very safe when he is in the drop-in room or with his peer mentor”
“my peer mentor is brilliant, he really helped me and he’s not bad at football either!”
“she really helped me, she is my friend”
“I’m glad I can still see her if I need to”
“He watches out for me around school & asks if I’m OK”
“I liked being able to take my friend with me, my peer mentor helped both of us at the same time”
“can I come back!”
“I want to be a peer mentor too”
UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2017
If you have any questions relation to the schools Peer Mentoring scheme, please contact Mrs D Payne, Student Wellbeing Co-ordinator.