|Peer Mentoring is about young people offering support to other young people by listening to them. Young people already use their listening skills, compassion and understanding to support their friends.
A peer support scheme is simply an extension of this whereby young people use their listening and friendship skills to support other young people in their school, with help from adults.
The scheme has been running in Carrickfergus Grammar School for almost 6 years now and is continuing to evolve and develop with the addition of an academic mentoring scheme over the past two years.
The peer mentoring element provides support to Year 8 pupils in a social context. It is carried out by Year 13 pupils who may see themselves as future teachers, social workers or health professionals of some kind or who simply see the value of contributing to the lives of other young people in this way.
The academic mentoring scheme is more formal and seeks to address the needs of Year 8, 9 and 10 pupils who are struggling with particular subjects.
The main focus is on improving performance in the core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science but other subjects are covered to some extent. This mentoring is carried out by Year 14 pupils who give up their lunchtimes to assist with the academic support of their younger colleagues.
The Peer Mentoring Scheme at Carrickfergus Grammar School is helping to encourage the positive relationships between pupils and the friendly, welcoming environment that the school prides itself on. With the development of the academic mentoring scheme we aim to improve learning and ultimately academic performance, while at the same time building on the work of the peer mentoring to bridge the gap between our junior and senior school pupils.
All in all, even though mentoring is still in its infancy at Carrickfergus Grammar both schemes our very positive and successful aspects of school life, which we hope will continue for many years to come.