Becoming a learning mentor
Other relevant job titles: Classroom assistant
Fairly recent arrivals on the school staff in both primary and secondary schools, learning mentors work with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (Senco) and senior teachers. Learning mentors work closely with individual students but have a profound effect on the whole school by enhancing inclusion. It can be a difficult balance, building a strong relationship with challenged children, but remaining objective enough to push for results.
Depends on the recognition by local authorities of the professionalism of the role. Typical starting salaries are somewhere between £14,000 and £17,000. More experienced learning mentors could get paid between £20,000 - £25,000 and those with management responsibilities could nudge up to £27,000.
Learning mentor duties
These vary enormously and could include any of the following:
- Identify children who would benefit from one-to-one tutoring
- Discover the reasons behind a child’s underachievement
- Keep detailed records of attendance and punctuality
- Consult with parents as to the reasons for underachievement
- Draw up action plans for study and revision
- Assist with confidence-building exercises
- Involved in safeguarding and child protection
- Act as a role model
- Run after school activities
- Work 1:1 with pupils
- Run pupil drop-in sessions
- Support KS2/3 transfer
- Support mentees in class as part of a structured programme of mentoring
- Managing Playground Leaders
- Involvement with home-school link worker and community centre activities such as coffee mornings and parent courses
Learning mentors usually work a 35 to 37-hour week (daytime hours), although there is usually some evening and occasional weekend work on extra-curricular activities or with parents. Preparation and administrative work is often done in the evening.
Skills and knowledge
- Reliable, approachable, non-judgemental
- A good listener
- Great communication skills and able to work with a variety of external agencies
- Problem solving skills
- Persuasive, persistent and optimistic
Best route into becoming a learning mentor
There’s no formal qualification and there are a number of possible routes in ranging from teaching assistant to qualified teacher. However, it’s essential to be able to demonstrate an interest in learning and an empathy with individuals. If you have no previous experience, a track record of volunteering in school clubs or community work would be useful.