Development Programme

Whilst doing the mentoring work that I have been doing at Droitwich High School, it became apparent to me that this work is vital for the future success of young people not only in my locality but across the country.

I love the work that I do there, but ultimately I am only one person, and that is just not enough to help the amount of young people that I would like.

To that end I began to realise that it was important that I developed a larger-scale approach that ensured the long-term future of mentoring in schools.

I know that ‘mentoring’ is very much a buzzword at the moment within educational circles, and so I want to be very clear about what Meta Mentoring is all about.

This is not about remedial work. It is specifically aimed at young people who have already made one of the most important life changing decisions in their lives – to stay on at school. It is aimed specifically at 16-18 year olds, who have made that choice and for whatever reason are now struggling.

I have identified that there is plenty of help for both the very bright and those that come from disadvantaged or challenging backgrounds. Where there is very little help (apart from some amazing 1-1 work from some very special 6th form heads or teachers) is for those young people who are bright but just disengaged or de-motivated. These are young people who are potential A-C grade A-level students, who for one reason or another are under-performing, and becoming increasingly disillusioned with the education system.

The Mentoring Development Programme I have created is an 8-day personal development programme with a focus on NLP, coaching and mentoring skills. It will equip the potential mentor with a whole range of tools and techniques that will enable them to become excellent mentors.

1-1 mentoring sessions for every potential mentor are built into the programme and they will receive further mentoring after completion of the programme.

In my experience, young people are deeply suspicious of older, parental type figures wanting to help them, and so I believe that the best way to engage the young people is for their mentors to be elder brother/sister figures – people who are young enough to remember what it was like to be a teenager, and who have come through the other side.

These potential mentors will be taken from the local area. They could be previous alumni of the school (as I was!) or could be from local organisations that wish to give something back to their local community, or just local successful people who would like to work with young people.

At the end of the programme not everyone will be put forward to work with the young people in the school. However, what we will do is ensure that the skills they have learnt are transferred back into their own lives or indeed back into the workplace if they were sponsored by their organisation to do it. This way we believe that it is a win-win not only for the school and the young people being mentored but the local community and local business.

I am looking to run a pilot for this scheme in 2011. It requires two or three schools for this pilot to be run, and will begin in January 2011.

In the first year (from February to the beginning of exams) I will personally mentor at each of the schools, so they can see first-hand the benefit of mentoring for these young people. Then in June/July of that year, we will run the Mentoring Development Programme with a view that by the following January those mentors who have graduated from the programme will be ready to take over the mentoring at the pilot schools, thus ensuring the long term sustainability of the programme.

I believe that mentoring will play a key role in the future of education. With the move to full time education up to the age of 18, there will be more and more young people who simply do not wish to be at school. There are already so many demands put on teachers, that it will be simply impossible to give these disengaged, challenging young people the one-to-one attention they need. That is why I want to take this Mentoring Development Programme forward to as many schools as possible.

I believe in the potential of young people, and I hope that, with your support, we can ensure a very bright future, not only for our local schools and the young people in them, but for the future of our country as a whole. If you’d like to talk to me further about running a pilot in your council or area, or indeed if you are a school head who’d like to get involved in a pilot, please do get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.