What is the GROW mentoring programme?

Our programme supports incoming Year 11 pupils to return to the classroom after the period of lockdown by providing them with a relatable role-model – a recent graduate – who can guide, champion and inspire them. At the heart of our programme is the three-way relationship between Pupil, Graduate Mentor and the School (via a designated School Key Contact) managed by the team at Sheffield Hallam University.

Why mentoring and not tutoring?

  1. Our consultation with schools across Sheffield City Region has suggested that:
    • Subject-specific tutoring would require pedagogical training for the mentors tailored to each school, otherwise it would risk undermining or confusing pupils’ existing knowledge
    • Schools already have subject experts in place, but would really value support on wellbeing, re-engaging and motivating pupils as they return to school to maximise the impact of subject classes.
  2. Mentoring is far broader than tutoring. The latter is effective for achieving short term goals (if pupils engage with it at all) but for those students who are struggling to re-engage after a period of significant uncertainty, they may need broader support to re-learn ways of working as well as help to find their motivation to re-engage and succeed academically.
  3. Our mentoring is built on a Trauma Informed Approach – reconnecting young people to a safe place with an enabling adult, a relatable graduate role-model, who can provide pupils with a sense of belonging and belief in their future.

How will the mentoring sessions be delivered?

Each Graduate Mentor will work with up to five pupils in a school. The Mentor will provide up to two hours a week mentoring per student over the course of six weeks at a time agreed between the school, pupil and mentor. Given the current social distancing guidelines, these sessions will initially take place online but this approach will be kept under review.

What will the mentoring sessions cover?

Mentoring will focus on reconnecting the pupil with education through the support of an enabling adult, in close contact with the school. Mentoring covers the following four topics:

  1. Dealing with the return to school, using the ‘Trauma Informed’ approach by Trauma Informed Schools UK.
  2. Coaching in positive habits of work and learning
  3. Careers Information, Advice and Guidance
  4. Personal Development

What training will the Graduate Mentors receive?

The Graduate Mentors will all have been through a rigorous selection process, have undergone an enhanced DBS check and will have attended an intensive training programme in the principles and strategies of mentoring over the one week period. The training will comprise of webinars and self-study materials, based on a distance learning approach. This will balance compliance with the social distancing guidelines with a rigorous and high-quality offer.  Mentors will receive training on the four modules of the curriculum above, as well as additional training in safeguarding and effective planning and delivery of mentoring sessions.