Our Volunteer Learning Mentors help young people with their homework and study skills for an hour a week in the family home. Through these amazingly committed volunteers building a relationship with the young person and their family, assisted by targets from class teachers and resources provided by Love to Learn, young people’s confidence in their learning grows enormously.
The one to one relationship gives young people the chance to ask questions they may not feel able to ask in class; the learning mentor often finds “gaps” in their learning that they can focus on; for others it is about developing their vision for their future and focusing on subjects they know they want to do well in.
We always have far more young people waiting for learning mentors than we have capacity for, but in the last three years our numbers have grown from 20 learning mentors to 50 at any one time. We are now starting a new programme, Learning Spaces, which will further increase our number of learning mentors to at least 60. Although our learning mentors commit for 6 months at the start, many do more than 9 months and others have worked with us for years, moving on to new families after a year or so.
Our priorities are to support newly arrived young people, or those who have missed a lot of schooling. We also target those moving from primary to secondary school, from Year 9 to GCSEs or those sitting GCSE exams in the next year. Other young people we may prioritise are those “behind” their peers, where there may suspected be special educational needs or where a child is caring for other family members.
Time and time again the young people and families we work with tell us that they have been able to make progress through the help given by their learning mentors.