ASN pupil mentoring scheme highlighted by HMIE

20th February 2009 at 00:00

A peer-mentoring scheme for pupils with additional support needs at Gryffe High in Renfrewshire has been highlighted as an example of good practice in a recent HMIE report.

It says the system has reduced difficulties caused by disruptive behaviour and helped young people feel safer. There are also signs of improving achievement among S1-2 pupils with more significant support needs.

The scheme was set up by support for learning staff to help those S1-2 pupils develop confidence and increase their opportunities for becoming successful.

Sixth-year pupils responded very positively to invitations to become mentors and were given training by support for learning staff. There were 49 sixth years volunteering as readers and scribes for assessments and 51 supporting class work across a range of subjects.

Senior students also work as reading partners with younger pupils and some give more intense mentoring for individuals with more specific needs.

Benefits were felt in classes supported by seniors and younger pupils identified positive role models they could relate to among the older students. The scheme means issues concerning more vulnerable pupils are identified more quickly.

The report also highlights how sixth-year volunteers are eligible for a Millennium Award for their efforts contributing to the school's positive ethos and that they demonstrate skills as responsible citizens and effective contributors.

Headteacher John Watson said he was delighted by this recognition and paid tribute to learning assistant Elaine Scally who has taken a leading role in managing the scheme, which attracts around 60 per cent of S6 students.

"The sixth years love what they are doing and the younger children are very positive about it. We have a number of sixth years who move onto careers working with children, so this is something good for their CVs - that they have been doing this work."

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