INSPIRING YOUNG MINDS
Nicola Rogers, Assistant Head, Pupil Development, shares her insights into her pioneering pupil mentoring scheme here at Warminster.
“The ability that a mentor has to help an individual identify and nurture potential brings instantly to mind an image of my own daughter chatting with an older pupil. I could see that a flame had been ignited. She was inspired and suddenly driven to aspire to the standards that her role model was demonstrating. It was increasingly clear that we needed to develop a mentoring programme amongst our pupils. Pupil peer mentoring has been shown to lead to improved engagement, attendance and behaviour and not least to create a greater sense of belonging.
We set in place a comprehensive training package for our fifteen selected mentors from across the Senior School year groups and once they were ready, carefully matched our young mentors with suitable mentees and the process began. Six months into our first year of pupil mentoring, the feedback is both rewarding and encouraging; one mentee told me, 'My mentor is great. I have been able to get great advice on exams, my subjects and even my social life!’
Building on the success of our first year, we have decided to open up the programme and involve pupils in the Sixth Form and lower years. We have also introduced the programme into boarding houses so that Year 9 pupils have a boarding house mentor as they move into senior boarding houses. This is an initiative that we hope, before very long, will involve pupils from our Prep School right throughout the school ensuring our pupils receive the very best support, not only from our staff but from their contemporaries too.”
Mark Sully, Deputy Head Academic endorsed this scheme commenting, “The mentoring programme is an excellent addition to the care provided at the School. The Headmaster often refers to his eldest daughter with regards to role models; his daughter often won't listen to his advice but will hang on every word that comes out of an older pupils mouth. The great thing about the mentor scheme is that the mentor has been in the mentee's shoes and experienced the same pressures and stresses whether this be pastorally or academically. The impact academically allows the pupils being mentored to share their stresses and talk through their concerns allowing barriers to be broken down and giving the pupils every opportunity to be successful.”