New mentors supporting pupils in two Taunton Deane schools
This month sees the first meetings of 80 mentors from local businesses and community groups with young people in two Taunton Deane Schools as part of SCF's Raising Aspirations mentoring scheme.
The Raising Aspirations mentoring project matches adult volunteers with young people who are just starting their secondary school career. The project aims to give students’ confidence and self-esteem a boost at a time when many children feel the pressure of new teachers, new curriculum and a new peer group.
With the support of Taunton Deane Borough Council, Somerset Community Foundation has recruited and trained 80 people across the two schools, carefully matching them to Year 7 & 8 students at Taunton Academy and Court Fields School who will benefit from their support. Mentors will meet the students monthly for the next five years, supporting them through the natural challenges of their school career.
Interim results from an evaluation of a pilot revealed that students feel they gain a great deal through the support of a trusted adult:
“I talk to my mentor about what I struggle with, like maths, and putting my hand up in class. My mentor encourages me to put my hand up, he says you could be right”.
“[Your mentor will) encourage you…like for ages I was convinced I could not do what I wanted to do….I used to be too terrified to do it….not know what they think…..but now it’s not an issue” Mentees, 2015
Mentors feel they also benefit:
“It’s also good to hear about their life. I hope we give them something too.” Mentor, 2015