Students at STM have their first opportunity in Year 8 to become a peer mentor. The Year 8 Buddy Scheme involves the Peer Mentors being trained to support Year 7 students with their transition into secondary school. Mentors support in the Year 7 playground at break and lunch and run clubs to help students to build friendships.
Further up in the school, Year 10 and Sixth Form students can apply to become Peer Mentors and make a difference in the life of the lower school, both academically and pastorally.
Applications are handed out at the beginning of autumn term each year and the successful candidates are notified by letter. Successful mentors receive training to support and equip them with their peer mentoring sessions. Training Skills include Communication, Active Listening skills & Personal space, Working alongside other people, Supporting others, Problem solving, Diversity, Team building, setting SMART targets and Confidentiality.
Their duties include:
- Working on a one to one basis to support identified students
- Acting as an Ambassador during Year 6 open evening
- Helping on transition day
- Lenten fundraising
- Being role models in the school
Peer Mentors have a positive influence on students in the following ways:
- Helping with homework/organising skills/study skills
- Listening and responding to the needs of the students by the students
- Creating a caring atmosphere impacting relationships
- Reducing bullying and lateness
- Providing positive role models within the student body
- Resolve minor problems through mediation
- Enhance citizenship by providing support and guidance from the older students
St Thomas More Peer Mentors sign a Contract agreeing to the rules and regulations of the position. They have weekly supervision where they discuss how their role is progressing and share experiences and good practice. Evaluation takes place through Exit/Evaluation forms filled in by mentees. Display boards in our school corridors inform our pupils who our Peer Mentors are and the work that they are involved in. Mentors are visible to our students by wearing a badge with Peer Mentor printed on.
From 2017-2021, 625 students have taken part in a Peer Mentoring Scheme. The outcome of this programmes is twofold with mentors and mentees alike feeling more confident with working with their peers, speaking in front of and supporting others and feeling as though they can make a positive difference to St Thomas More and the wider community.
St Thomas More Peer Mentors are positive role models within the school community.
Feedback from mentees:
Year 7 Mentee A: If I had to summarise the scheme, I would say it was all about friendship, teamwork and communication.
Year 7 Mentee B: Speaking with my mentor and creating a timetable together helped to improve my organisation and get on track with submitting my homework on time- resulting in less XH’s and receiving a Headteacher’s Award.
Year 8 Mentee A: It was really good and nice to have a few minutes once a week to relieve my problems to my Mentor. She was really nice and showed care to any situations that we spoke about.
Year 8 Mentee B: It has helped me because my behaviour has improved. I stopped getting X’s because I started reflecting and if I did get X’s, I would be letting my mentor down too.
Year 10 Mentee A: I got help for improving my behaviour and understanding that sometimes it’s better to stay quiet in certain situations and speak to the teacher after the lesson.
Our mentors 2021/22 below: