Kidscape has worked with staff at Sarum Academy in Salisbury, Wiltshire to implement a peer mentoring programme. Teacher, Charlotte Bell, explains the positive impact the Kidscape Peer Mentoring programme has had on her school…
As the longest serving member of staff, I’m hugely passionate about the Academy and our pupils. I teach Health and Social Care and lead our Pupil Leadership programme. Four years ago I took part in Kidscape’s Peer Mentoring workshop – a one-day training course designed to empower pupils to become mentors for younger children facing personal issues.
The course was really inspiring – we used the charity’s training booklet to learn about some great activities that we could encourage pupils to get involved in. We learnt ways in which we could train young people to be compassionate, empathetic and develop listening skills, which are crucial in building trust and confidentiality within safe-guarding perimeters.
With Kidscape’s support, I then set up our programme by training 12 Year 9 pupils to become mentors. We worked through lots of activities that Kidscape taught us, such as role play where pupils share real life experiences and trainee mentors give their opinion on how each difficult situation could be handled. The pupils loved being part of this programme and later taught children from younger year groups to also become mentors by passing on their newfound skills and knowledge.
We hold peer mentoring sessions once a fortnight in the school dining hall and pupils come to talk to our mentors about any issues they are facing, such as bullying or problems at home. The mentors sit and listen which is so important as the children don’t always like to share their problems with adults.
"The Kidscape Peer Mentoring programme has had a hugely positive impact on our pupils."
The Kidscape Peer Mentoring programme has had a hugely positive impact on our pupils. The feedback we have received from the children has been fantastic with pupils saying they feel much happier and confident to deal with their problems. In the last four years I’ve not received any negative feedback and our mentors have developed long-lasting friendships with their mentees.
We often have many visitors to our Academy who tell us they are blown away by our mentoring programme if they visit during a session. It’s something I am immensely proud of and I would recommend all schools take part in Kidscape’s workshop to support pupils who find life difficult at times.
Having young mentors gives other children an invaluable opportunity to express themselves and feel supported. It’s just great that they have other children of a similar age to talk to.
Support to set up a peer mentoring programme in your school or youth setting.