Mentoring at Julian's Primary School
by Meerah - year 12 Biology, Psychology & Sociology A level student
I found out about the Primary School mentoring programme at the SFX enrichment fair held at the start of the year and decided to apply, firstly because I wanted to gain volunteering experience for my UCAS application, but also because I’ve grown up with younger siblings so I knew that I would be suited to working with younger children. I wanted to get an insight into what it’s genuinely like to work in a primary school setting and hopefully make a difference to the children I work with.
I attended a meeting where I learnt exactly what the programme would entail. We then had the chance to visit the one of the school’s sites, get a tour and view lessons in various year groups. At the end of this day we were allowed to choose a particular year group we wanted to work with.
Being a mentor at the primary school involved helping our assigned students with either tasks from their class work or helping them improve in other areas of their learning, alongside being a person that the children felt that they could come to about any situation.
To help us improve as mentors one of the leaders of this programme set up a mentoring workshop for us to take part in. During the workshop I learned about building positive relationships, safeguarding, and how to work towards our targets to make our impact more beneficial for our mentees.
I chose to work with children in year 2. When I first met my mentee he was quite shy and being diagnosed with ADHD meant he sometimes found it quite hard to concentrate in lessons, so my main goal was to help him pay attention for a longer duration, because it would benefit him not only while I’m there, but during independent work and other aspects of life. I visited the primary school every Monday during term time for 3 hours to work with him, alongside assisting the other children in the class. The mentoring began in October, and continued up until schools were closed in March. Throughout my time there I saw his confidence build greatly as well as his ability to work independently.
I would highly recommend taking part in this programme to other Saint Francis Xavier students, due to the fact that not only are you gaining something to talk about on your university application but you also learn how to adapt in different situations quickly, improve your communication skills and positively impact the student’s lives. This allows you to further your understanding of working in a primary school as well as allowing you to make connections with teachers who could possibly give you future references and inform you of other opportunities you may be interested in partaking in.
Feedback from Julian’s Primary School:
The mentors from Saint Francis Xavier Sixth Form College have had a tremendous impact on Julian’s Primary School pupils. Although working with some challenging pupils, the mentors have met the challenge with confidence and great maturity. The children from Julian’s Primary School have loved having the mentors in as they have become relatable role models for them, who are able to communicate with the Julian’s Primary School pupils in a way that their teacher may not. Feedback from class teachers has shown that the mentors have helped to improve Julian’s Primary School pupils’ behaviour, concentration and self-assurance. Teachers have also stated the mentors successfully acted as positive relatable role models who the primary pupils were eager to impress through their behaviour and involvement during lessons.