Mentoring key

4th July 2008 at 01:00
Myself and the deputy head have led an assertive mentoring programme at our school, a 1,200 pupil mixed comprehensive

Myself and the deputy head have led an assertive mentoring programme at our school, a 1,200 pupil mixed comprehensive. While I acknowledge Paul Blum's reservations concerning mentors' lack of subject specialist knowledge ("Fight for specialist mentors", TES Leadership, June 13), an assertive mentoring programme overcomes this problem.

Subject teachers actually play a key role in transferring specialist "action points" to mentors whose role is then to ensure their mentees complete these tasks and pass them to the subject teacher. The "tea and sympathy" factor and "you can do it" pep talk that Mr Blum talks of play no part in assertive mentoring. Instead, clear, task-specific action points for mentors to focus on short, yet purposeful meetings.

Accountability is placed firmly on the pupils to ensure tasks are completed to deadlines. This new approach to mentoring has worked well this year and raised the aspirations and academic achievements of our Year 11 pupils.

Just as all staff should have the opportunity to act as mentors so the mentees should not merely comprise of "fragile pupils". On the contrary, assertive mentoring should be the entitlement of every pupil if we are to personalise our pupils' education and be truly inclusive.

Brendan Pugh head of modern languages. Bedford High School, Leigh, Lancashire.

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