The council is seeking volunteers to help young people in care reach their full potential – by becoming a learning mentor to guide and support them through their education.
Now recruiting for September 2019, Croydon’s new learning mentor programme is being developed to ensure that all the children and young people the council looks after – around 900 – can achieve their full potential in their education. Initially, the programme will work with 25 young people aged 14 to 16 in mainstream schools, with a view to expanding it the following year. Approximately half of this group are unaccompanied or separated refugee young people.
Volunteers need to be over 21, and from any background. As a learning mentor they will use their own experiences of education to guide their young person through the challenges of studying and preparing for exams. They may help them to explore their interests and consider their future life options and choices.
Volunteers don’t need any special experience – full training will be included alongside a careful matching process. – and enhanced DBS checks will be completed to ensure children’s safety. These are free for volunteers. The most important factor is a desire to support a young person and make a difference to them. Volunteers will be expected to commit to mentoring for six months, meeting with their mentee for one hour a week. All are welcome – whether they have lots of relevant experience or want to develop new skills.“
“All young people experience challenges at some point in their education – whether they are finding a particular subject tricky, preparing for exams, or simply feeling a bit overwhelmed. Having a mentor to guide and support them can make all the difference, particularly to a young person who has been separated from their family. Likewise, the mentor themselves can benefit and grow from their relationship with the young person, and their experience and perspective.” ”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning
Teachers at the council’s virtual school, which supports all the children looked after by the council through their education, have expressed their enthusiasm about the benefits the new scheme will bring.
Stephen Jacques, education advisor at Croydon Virtual School, said: “The programme looks excellent, and will improve young people’s confidence in completing course work, preparing for tests and exams and having an adult to support and encourage them with school. I am very excited about the programme, and highly commend it, and encourage young people to sign up and adults to offer their time in supporting the potential of our local Croydon young people.”.
For more information about the young people waiting for mentors, and to learn about the training and guidance we provide, contact Kathryn in the virtual school team: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8726 6000 ext 60267.