Mentoring sessions: how and why they work

By Hannah Mead, Make Happen collaborative outreach officer 

In my role I work with schools in Castle Point and Benfleet, and I’m currently mentoring a small group of year 10 students at a school in my region. But what is mentoring? And how does it work?

mentoring session

The Make Happen mentoring programme is essentially comprised of six sessions, delivered across six consecutive weeks – and it can be delivered within small groups, or on a one-to-one basis.

Each session aims to encourage students to think about their options after the age of 16, including the many benefits of making the decision to progress onto going to university or taking a degree apprenticeship.

It gives them the time and space to think about career pathways, what study skills they can learn, and support for revision, which is especially valuable as they approach their GCSE exams in year 11. The broader benefits being, they gain a deeper understanding of their skills, destinations and pathways.

But just as importantly, mentoring gives students an opportunity to ask questions about topics discussed during the sessions about the various routes they can take after the age of 16 and get impartial advice form people like me and my colleagues.

My current project came about as The Deans School had requested a mentoring programme for a small group of students whose aspirations were lower than average. The students have been attended each session across the six-week period and have actively engaged in conversation on a few different topics.

It’s been great to see the level of engagement increasing amongst the students each week, and how they have developed their knowledge around their options after the age of 16.
Most importantly, these students have asked intuitive and intelligent questions around the issue of higher education, and crucially, this means they’re reaching an understanding that university is more achievable then they may at first have thought.

If any secondary school is interested in finding out more about mentoring, please contact your designated collaborative outreach officer who will be happy to discuss it further.

Watch the video! 

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"It gives them the time and space to think about career pathways, what study skills they can learn, and support for revision"