What is mentoring? 
We offer support to secondary schools to set up Peer Mentoring programmes allowing older pupils (usually sixth form students) to use their own experiences and knowledge to support and help a younger pupil overcome barriers to their attainment at school. 

Peer mentoring has multiple benefits and research has shown that it helps to bring about improvements in pupil’s motivation and academic performance, whilst also increasing their confidence and self-esteem. Peer mentoring utilizes one of the most valuable resources available to every school – its own students. 

We offer support to deliver a presentation to recruit peer mentors, deliver a 1 day training course, support to set up mentoring meetings and templates for all necessary paperwork. 
Courses are run with groups of up to 15 peer mentors and the cost for the full programme is £750.00. 

One school who have recently worked with us have commented that, " Peer Mentoring has very quickly become a very important aspect of the pastoral care within our school and is a brilliant way of enriching the whole ethos of our school." 

Mentoring Programme for Bedfordshire 

Services for Young People Mentor Referral Criteria 
Mentoring has the potential to be a powerful personal development tool for the young person engaged. However mentoring can only be effective when there is an appropriate match between the mentor and the mentee. 

This guidance outlines for professionals the types of support needs which can best be met by mentoring, and how young people who present with these needs can be referred. 

The SfYP Mentoring Programme 
SfYP offers a mentoring programme which matches suitable young people aged 13 – 19 years (up to 25 years with a LDD) with a mentor. The young person and the mentor meet on a regular basis (generally once per week) about the issues or problems which may be holding them back from achieving their full potential. The aim of the mentoring programme is to equip young people with the necessary skills to make informed and positive choices in their lives. 

All mentors are volunteers and are supported by a full time member of staff, the SfYP Mentoring Co-ordinator. 

SfYP makes a concerted effort to recruit mentors from a wide variety of backgrounds, however professionals need to be aware that it is not always possible to meet a young personÂ’s preference for a particular mentor. For example, there are less male mentors then there are female mentors. 

Mentors undergo a robust recruitment procedure which includes a personal interview and an enhanced DSB check. 

Once accepted to the programme mentors undertake 18 hours of training. Training covers topics such as the role of a mentor, the stages of mentoring, safeguarding, professional boundaries, confidentiality, information sharing and equality and diversity. 

It is important to remember that mentors are not qualified counsellors or social workers. Although mentors have been accepted to the programme because of the qualities they display, e.g. the ability to motivate and inspire, and the ability to communicate in a non-judgemental way, they do not have the full training or qualifications that would be needed to support young people with complex needs. 

The Mentoring Relationship 
Mentoring is not befriending. A mentoring relationship is focused on assisting the young person to achieve specified and agreed goals rather than just spending time with the young person. Mentors do not carry out home visits. Mentors are not able to transport young people in their cars. All meetings with young people are in a public place, e.g. a café, school or library, and all meetings have the purpose of empowering the young person to make informed decisions for themselves by discussing the options available. 

Mentees can expect the mentor to show a genuine interest in their lives and a commitment to helping them achieve their aims. 

Referral Criteria 
To ensure that mentoring is a beneficial experience for the young person, it is important that they are matched with a mentor who is able to support their needs. For this reason professionals should assess the support needs of the young person prior to any referral. 

As a general rule mentoring is most effective for those young people with low to mid level support needs. For example, confidence building, time management skills, personal skills to help make new friends, or assistance with job hunting. Mentoring is less likely to be suitable for those young people with intensive or complex support needs, e.g. mental health concerns or diagnosis, where there are child protection concerns, or a difficult family breakdown. 

The SfYP mentoring programme is a voluntary programme so only those young people who have expressed an interest in being matched with a mentor should be referred. It is important to note that mentors generally work on their own, out in the community, on a one to one basis with young people. For health and safety reasons it will generally not be acceptable to refer a young person who has a history of violent or aggressive behaviour. 

Referral Process for Professionals 

  1. Consider the level of support needs of the young person. Those with low to mid level support needs can be referred. Those with complex or intensive support needs should be referred to the relevant agency for professional support. 

  2. Professionals should discuss with the young person the structure of the programme, the benefits and boundaries of working with a mentor, and the commitment required. It is advisable to contact the Mentor Coordinator to check availability in that area before any guarantee is made to the young person; a referral form can then be requested from the Mentoring Co-ordinator. 

  3. The professional should support the young person to complete the referral form, outlining why they would like to work with a mentor, working together to set three objectives that the mentor can help the young person address, and completing a statement outlining any background information and support needs that the mentor may need to be aware of. 

  4. Once the referral has been made the Mentor Coordinator will consider the referral and match suitable young people with a mentor. 

Continuing Professional Involvement 
The professional who made the referral is expected to attend the first meeting to facilitate the introduction of the mentor and the mentee. A referral to the mentoring programme does not necessarily mean that the referring professional will cease to work with that young person. Dependent on the support needs of each particular young person the level of continuing professional involvement will differ. In some cases mentoring will be a tool used by a professional alongside the support they are already providing to that young person. In other cases it may be beneficial for the professional to contact the young person to check that they are benefiting from the mentoring relationship. All relevant feedback should be provided to the Mentoring Coordinator.