Peer Mentors 2023-2024
Evidence indicates that well-structured peer mentoring programmes in schools with tailored training, support and management of the mentors have had a great and long-lasting impact. For every pupil experiencing challenges in school, be they academic or socio-emotional, there is an older pupil in the same school who is very well placed to help. That older pupil, in acting as a mentor to the younger person (the mentee), will develop a whole host of skills and habits that are crucial to their own success in school and beyond.
Benefits for the Mentor:
Improved academic achievement
Improved attitudes towards learning
Improved levels of resilience and perseverance
Improved leadership skills
An ability to empathise with, and a desire to help those around them
Benefits for the Mentee:
A relatable and dedicated role model and a safe space to talk
Improved academic attainment
Improved attitudes toward learning
Improved levels of focus in class, and behaviour around school
Improved levels of confidence and self-esteem
What is a Peer Mentor?
“Peer mentoring is traditionally a one-to-one (or group) non-judgemental relationship in which an individual (mentor) voluntarily gives time to support and encourage another (mentee). Peer mentors provide advice and guidance whilst acting as a positive role model for younger people who require their support”.
At Christ Church Academy, Peer Mentors are valued members of the student leadership team and they voluntarily spend their free time offering support and activities to the Y5 and Y6 children.
How to Apply to be a Peer Mentor at Christ Church Academy
This academic year – the majority of students who applied for a Peer Mentor role were accepted onto the training programme and were able to opt out at any time before the end of the training, if they felt that the role was not really going to work for them. We had 22 students at the start of training, of which 20 students completed the training.
The usual application/selection process involves a written application form which will also include a reference from an adult sponsor. Application Forms are submitted to The Peer Mentor Coordinator (Mrs Stangroom) during the final term for Y7 students. If there are a high number of applications then applicants may be required to attend a short interview with a panel of the ‘outgoing’ Y8 Peer Mentors. Mrs Stangroom (along with input from Head of Years 7/8 & Mrs Dawson) then make the decision as to which students will continue to the next stage of training which starts after their move to Year 8 during September/October. Students will ‘graduate’ as qualified Peer Mentors after successful completion of their training.
Peer Mentor Training
Historically, the Peer Mentor training has been delivered over 1 full school day followed by weeks of ‘on the job’ training. Following on from feedback from previous Peer Mentors, a decision was made to adjust the format of the training as a trial for the 2020/21 cohort, and this proved to be a great success and especially in regards to the student’s initial confidence, commitment and enthusiasm in their new role.
‘Budding’ Peer Mentors are expected to attend a total of 9 training workshops – which consists of 2-3 sessions per week over a 4-week period where each workshop runs for approximately 60 minutes. Students can request to be removed from the training programme at any time if they later decide that the role is not suitable for them. Students are able to ‘graduate’ as a qualified Peer Mentor providing, they have completed all 9 sessions to the required standard and expectations. Concessions are of course allowed for students who are absent due to sickness and who have completed 80% or more of the course.
Training Sessions Content
Session 1 – Understand Peer Mentoring and the skills/qualities required
Session 2 – Understand different perspectives and their impact on behaviour
Session 3 – Develop and promote good communication and listening skills
Session 4 – Develop good communication and questioning skills
Session 5 – Understand anti-bullying strategies and how to support as a mentor
Session 6 – Recognise ways to raise self-esteem, wellbeing and empathy
Session 7 – Understand boundaries and the importance of confidentiality
Session 8 – Introduction to Restorative Practice used when resolving conflicts
Session 9 – Peer Mentor contracts/evaluation and the duties and responsibilities at the Academy
Successful Peer Mentors are awarded with a certificate and a shield style enamelled peer mentor badge at their ‘graduation’ ceremony/party. In addition, the students are encouraged to wear a purple ‘Peer Mentor’ lanyard and ID badge whilst carrying out their duties in school.
Peer Mentors who have an interest in the promotion of mental health and wellbeing can also volunteer to take on extra responsibilities as a wellbeing mentor known as a ‘Hope Ambassador’ which has now become a key initiative under the Hope Project. Hope Ambassadors receive additional mental health and wellbeing training and can be recognised by their yellow ‘Peer Mentor’ lanyards.
Following on from their training, the Peer Mentor team will continue to receive regular supervision, meetings, guidance and ongoing training as and when required for the full academic year.
Duties and Responsibilities
At Christ Church Academy, there are a variety of leadership duties and responsibilities that are managed by the Peer Mentors / Hope Ambassadors via the Coordinator. The following list highlights some examples of the type of activities that have been carried out by a select few or all of the Peer Mentors:
Break time drop-ins
Lunch time playground duty (on a rota)
Organising play activities during lunch and wet breaks and lunchtimes
Y5/Y6 form activities during base times
Support with reading and home learning
Taking part in Mental Health assemblies
Voluntary support at Open evenings / Open days
1:1 emotional coaching
Voluntary support at Parents evening
Advertising – e.g. event posters
Direct link and support to Y5/Y6 mental health champions
Peer Mentors are expected to adopt a responsible code of conduct and promote a positive role model to the younger children at the academy. Peer Mentors should also be familiar with and follow the guidelines outlined in school policies in regards to behaviour, anti-bullying, confidentiality, dress code, freedom of information, mental health and wellbeing, and safeguarding – which is covered during the training.
The launch of Hope Ambassadors (wellbeing mentors) was a ‘Hope Project’ initiative that was developed as a direct response to the nationally reported rise in mental health problems amongst younger children, which had been steadily rising since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hope Ambassadors are Peer Mentors who have volunteered to take on additional responsibilities as a wellbeing mentor. Ambassadors have the opportunity to receive further training, information and guidance regarding wellbeing activities, such as mindfulness, mental health support, and emotional coaching strategies (early intervention). Ambassadors are able to demonstrate appropriate strategies to groups of younger children or on a targeted 1:1 basis.
Hope Ambassadors are encouraged to raise general awareness of mental health and wellbeing across the Academy, and can take part in assemblies and form activities to promote this. Ambassadors can volunteer to carry out 1:1 emotional coaching sessions with targeted students and often participate in fundraising events for mental health charities and the Hope Project.
Each Ambassador is assigned to one of the Y5/ Y6 forms as their designated wellbeing mentor, so there are usually 9-10 Hope Ambassadors each year. Hope Ambassadors can be identified by their Yellow ‘Peer Mentor’ lanyards and ID badge.
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