Pioneering Peer Mentoring Project at City of Norwich
Students at City of Norwich School, an Ormiston Academy, have received training from the YMCA to offer peer to peer mentoring support.
A group of 14 year old's and 16 year old's are now fully trained to offer other students a safe place to talk about issues that are affecting them, from friendship to exam stress and how to revise.
The school worked with Charlie Smith, a Youth worker from the YMCA who set up six hour-long, after school training sessions for the students, covering all aspects of safeguarding, communication, mentor relationships and confidence building. All students received a certificate from the YMCA once the training was complete and Charlie will be returning in a couple of weeks to see how the scheme is going.
The aim is to encourage students to talk about any issues they may have inside or outside of school in a friendly and approachable way.
“Sometimes you may want to talk to someone your own age instead of a teacher and we now have the training to provide this support” said one of the mentors.
Another said “There is now a choice of who you want to talk to, which is new here. You’ve got a boy and a girl assigned to each year group and on occasions there are three of us per year group, so it’s flexible about who you would choose to talk to”.
The mentors meet each week with the Deputy House Leader and Pastoral Manager to ensure that they are able to offload anything of concern that may arise from the mentoring.
The scheme was named BETA (Blakeney’s Experienced, Trusted Advisor's) and their slogan is “No problem is too small”. It’s currently a pilot scheme run within Blakeney House at CNS. If successful, more students may be encouraged to take on the training and spread the scheme further across the school.
Image: The peer mentoring team
Image: Students Sam Eden and George Shepherd