Peer Mentoring Programmes can make a valuable contribution to the overall ethos of the school, pastoral support systems and positive behaviour support structures.
Establishing a Peer Mentoring Scheme that involves senior students working with and supporting first year students can from part of a school's transition and transfer programme.

Focus Area: Peer Mentoring

School-wide positive behaviour supports look at procedures that address the entire student population in both classroom and in non-classroom (e.g.corridors) settings, while Level 2 interventions are targeted at a small groups, class or year group. The following snapshot describes the process of establishing a Peer Mentoring Scheme that involved senior students working and supporting 1st year  students on a formal basis and acting as models of good behaviour.

  1. School personnel in consultation with the NBSS explored the benefits of introducing a peer mentoring programme with senior students. It was felt that a mentoring programme with 5th year students, acting as positive role models, would benefit 1st year students and contribute to behaviour improvement.
  2. The mentoring progrmme was offered to all 5th year mentors and from a list of forty applicants twelve students were chosen by the 5th year head and assistant year head. 
  3. Students were trained in the last week of August by the NBSS and then the mentors  were assigned to their classes and introduced to the 1st year tutors.
  4. A four week support programme for the mentors was put in place where every Monday morning all mentors met with the assistant year head for forty minutes to discuss the plan for the week ahead, talk about their new role as a mentor and discuss any issues arising.
  5. The mentors worked with their 1st year tutor group from early September and assisted with the school induction programme working with 1st year students during a class period, which was set aside each week for this purpose. 
  6. During these class periods mentors worked with 1st year students on topics such as identifying their strengths and routines and rules of their new schools. Mentors also organsied games to help students get to know each other and their mentors  as well as activities around issues such as bullying and respect and what to do in certain school situations, e.g. what to do if I feel worried/sick, etc?  The mentors also organised a bowling trip and a table quiz for their tutor group.
  7. At the end of the programme 1st year students felt that the mentors had helped them to settle into school and had given them a good understanding of how the school operated,  as well as helping them to improve their behaviour. The senior mentors felt that the experience had been of benefit to them  personally as a result of having to act as role models within the school.

Successful mentoring programmes can benefit schools in the area of behaviour improvement as well as aid the successful transition of students into 1st year. They also make a valuable contribution to the overall ethos of the school and pastoral support systems.