The aim of our Mentoring Programme is to help the children at The Springfields Academy to develop their social skills, self-belief and communication skills. Some of the children are quite shy and the programme has helped them to interact with other young people and to become more confident, developing an important life skill. For the St Mary’s girls, it is also important for them, as they are developing their own sense of responsibility, empathy and the importance of belonging to and helping the local community.
The Mentoring Programme
The Mentoring Programme is also relevant to the subjects that some of the UVI Form girls wish to study in future (for example one of the girls was studying Psychology and another wished to go into Nursing).
We use St Mary’s Calne’s astro and top hall for many of the activities and also the sports fields for the sports games. We have also used classroom facilities for an evening of board games. The partnership involves both teaching and non-teaching staff. On a weekly basis a non-teaching member of staff accompanies the pupils during the mentoring session, however I oversee the programme and attend sessions whenever possible (I am also a teaching member of staff). In addition, other teaching staff (for example from PE, Drama and Language Departments) are involved as required, depending on the activity.
There is money allocated to the project for activities where this is required (including catering, art and craft supplies, party and games materials).
We continuously monitor and assess how successful each mentoring session has been, based on feedback from the pupils and staff from both schools. The Springfields Academy pupils often request to stay on a Wednesday evening to take part in the mentoring scheme, even though this may not be their usual boarding night. Before each cohort of mentors are inducted and trained, I meet with the Head and the Head of Boarding from The Springfields Academy to review the initiative and build on the year’s work.
One of the pupils involved in the mentoring programme partnership between St Mary’s Calne and The Springfields Academy said: ‘The experience has given me a much greater insight into the daily struggles that these children face. I have really enjoyed getting to know these fun and enthusiastic individuals. In a small way I feel that I have helped to build their confidence which I have found hugely rewarding.’ – Anna (Upper Sixth Form)
The anticipated outcomes for The Springfields Academy (which have been realised) are: increased self esteem, greater ease in interacting with older students and adults from outside Springfields, and greater confidence in visiting unfamiliar environments and taking part in activities which may be new to them.
Ammy Davies-Potter is Senior Mistress at St Mary’s Calne.
This article originated from Schools Together and is part of a series of case studies on IE Today. Tell us about your partnership work to be featured here – send your stories to Stephanie.firstname.lastname@example.org