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Making a difference

IT was Yomi Oloko's experiences as a social worker that inspired him to join the army of 900 learning mentors who will be stationed in primary schools across the country by July.

The 44-year-old has seen many youngsters pass through the system without reaching their potential and believes that working on a one-to-one basis with pupils in a tough, inner-city primary will give him the chance to make a real difference.

He said: "During my nine years working in social services I found that so many children in care suffered from a lack of self-esteem and had aspirations well below their potential.

"But I'd also worked as a teacher in Ngeria and knew that most teachers simply don't have time to address problems that pupils may have as individuals."

Yomi, the first primary learning mentor to be appointed by Haringey council, in north London, took up his post at Risley Avenue school in Tottenham at the start of this term. As well as addressing classes on matters such as self-esteem and the importance of learning, he will work with disruptive pupils whose challenging behaviour prevents them achieving academically.

With 40 ethnic groups among the school's 668 pupils, he will also use his experience and expertise to tackle problems raised specifically by race.

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