Good practice: a checklist for schools and colleges;Mentoring

4th June 1999 at 01:00
Mentoring can benefit many students: bright under-achievers, those who need extra support and those who are disaffected with study. Explore various options - you need not be confined to one mode.

* Contact your local education business partnership who can help match your needs with the skills, interests and talents of volunteers from industry. They should be able to pass on what has worked locally.

* Make sure you don't ignore your own in-house resources. Peer mentoring can build confidence and skills of both older and younger students. Those who have overcome a particular difficulty can provide invaluable support to younger students facing a similar barrier to learning.

* Make mentoring part of the school culture. It should be inclusive, fostering learning and bolstering confidence.

* Nominate one member of staff to co-ordinate mentoring projects. Senior management must provide visible support.

* Ensure all staff are aware of the mentoring programmes.

* Monitor the difference mentoring is making - from raising achievement to re-engaging disaffected learners.

* Send a letter to parents explaining why their children have been chosen. Mentors should be presented as anadditional educational resource.

* Set up an appointments system for mentor and mentee.

* When recruiting mentors remember they should beconfident, enthusiastic, patient and have an empathy with young people. They should be reliable, a good listener,interested, approachable and non judgmental. They should also be police checked.

* Find a room or area where private conversations can be held but not tucked away from the mainstream activity of school life.

* Develop feedback procedures and organise a review meeting at least once a term.

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