PEER MENTORING AT DCHS
Why do it?
The mental wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows children and young people to develop resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, health adults.
The active involvement of young people as peer mentors develops them within our wider society with a focus on being an ‘active citizen’. Peer mentoring provides an opportunity for young people to learn about and experience volunteering as part of their education experience and personal development. This experience will help them to gain social and interpersonal skills and will develop a culture of citizenship.
A peer mentoring programme will help to improve the emotional wellbeing of our pupils. It will provide a helping hand and a positive influence to students and complement other forms of school-based support. This is a preventative and early intervention approach that will help resolve low level emotional wellbeing difficulties that could otherwise progress into more serious problems.
Evidence shows that early intervention in emotional difficulties improves outcomes for children, families and wider society including:
Increased learning, progress and achievement
Improved behaviour and attendance
Better physical health
Improved long term mental health
In addition, it provides learning experiences in which all can develop and apply life skills, explore their personal attitudes and values and acquire a maturity to face the challenges of adult life.
Reported results also include reductions in bullying, improved behaviour, better atmosphere at schools, improve relations between staff and students, increased confidence and self-esteem for both peer mentors and those they support. Other reported benefits include skills such as communication and organisational skills.
We are a caring inclusive school and the peer mentoring programme will contribute to our current resources, helping to create a safe zone, where students will feel they have more people to turn too.
Peer Mentor Recruitment and Training
It is important that we recruit mentors from a cross section of our student cohort giving us a wide range of personalities and experiences to draw from. This programme will provide them with a trusting environment for personal growth. Mentors need to have a positive attitude, optimism, empathy and a genuine desire to be helpful.
It is essential that our peer mentors receive training on all aspects of peer mentoring so they are able to gain the skills and knowledge needed to carry out the roles expected of them. The training provides peer mentors the opportunity to explore the sorts of issues they may encounter and strategies for helping. Mentors will receive ongoing support and training throughout their time in the programme.
Safeguarding within the peer mentoring programme
The peer mentoring programme works within the safeguarding and child protection policy and procedures we have in school.
Understanding the safeguarding procedures and their importance is incorporated into the peer mentors’ training and monitored through the ongoing training, supervision and support of the peer mentors. The peer mentors’ training will also address issues to guard against the development of an inappropriate relationship between peer mentors and mentees.