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The Bishop's Stortford College Senior Pupil Mentoring Programme

Published on isbi School News dated Monday 10th of December 2012

On a Wednesday afternoon between 4pm and 5pm a steady trail of twenty or so senior pupils from the Upper and Lower Sixth at Bishop's Stortford College can be seen heading towards the classroom of Deputy Head (Academic), Mr Graham Brooks.

All the pupils are specialists in one or more academic fields and all of them have volunteered to give up an hour of their time each week to help tutor and inspire our younger pupils. Initially the programme was open to the Upper Fifth (Year 11) pupils as a way of helping them prepare for the impending Trial Exams and GCSEs, but more recently this has been extended, in response to pupil requests, to the Lower Fifth (Year 10). Whether aiming to improve a subject from an A to an A* or improve upon a C grade, the motivation is the same; pupils wanting to stretch themselves further and do the very best they possibly can.

At 4pm prompt the younger pupils arrive and announce the subject they need help with and immediately the older pupils volunteer to help them. One by one the younger pupils are paired up with an older one. Occasionally a younger pupil is lucky enough to have the attention and help of two outstanding academics and for the next hour the room is filled with a gentle hubbub of noise as pupils both older and younger discuss the academic subject in question in great detail. The enthusiasm and care that the older pupils demonstrate towards the younger ones is quite inspirational and it is no surprise to see the Upper Fifth and Lower Fifth student totally engaged and glowing in the attention lavished upon them by the Sixth Formers.

Commenting on the new initiative, Graham Brooks said:
'The initiative works on so many levels. It requires the younger ones to have initiative and drive as the sessions are purely voluntary for them, too; mind you, when they realise the support it provides for them they don't usually need any further encouragement. Equally, the Upper and Lower Sixth relish the sense of responsibility it bestows on them and clearly find it highly rewarding. They enjoy being able to help younger pupils using their hard won knowledge, much of which is still highly relevant as a consequence of their A level choices. Equally this programme reinforces the feeling that one is contributing to someone else's sense of confidence and self-esteem and, as all teachers know, actually doing some academic 'good' can be quite intoxicating.'

Ollie George, one of the Sixth Formers taking part, said: 'It has been a true pleasure to take part in the academic mentoring scheme. From a mentor's perspective, I really enjoy the refreshing discussions. It is an incredibly positive process and, for myself, it has been a fabulous exercise in self-evaluation; I have learnt not to overcomplicate things, a skill that I have now realised is crucial to A level study!'
The Bishop's Stortford College Senior Pupil Mentoring Programme - Photo 1The Bishop's Stortford College Senior Pupil Mentoring Programme - Photo 2
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