Mentor scheme helps children settle in

Moving from primary to high school can be a tough time for many children but pupils at a Dereham school are helping to make the transition a lot easier.

Moving from primary to high school can be a tough time for many children but pupils at a Dereham school are helping to make the transition a lot easier.

Thirty year nine students at Neatherd High have been recruited as peer mentors for year seven children.

The peer mentors give one-on-one support to individuals from year seven, offering them advice in areas such as making new friends, organisational skills, and being more confident, and they are also attached to year seven form groups which they visit twice a week. There is also a special drop-in centre at lunchtime twice a week where year sevens can go to if they need a friendly face to talk to, and mentors also keep an eye out in the playground to make sure nobody is being bullied.

The scheme was launched in September and has so far been a success.

You may also want to watch:

One of the year seven pupils being helped, who wanted to be anonymous, said: “I think the peer mentor scheme is good because we have got new friends. They are approachable and friendly and the drop in centre was a really brilliant idea.”

Amy Goldsmith and Laura Stratton, both 13, have both been giving one-on-one support to year seven students.

Most Read

Amy said: “I have helped two people so far and it is good to see how they have improved.

“When I came to high school I got bullied. I know what I went through and I want the year sevens to have someone they can come to if they need help, and make high school easier for them.”

Laura said: “I wanted to become a mentor because I thought it was good chance to become a good role model. We all have experiences of going from year six to year seven and we just want to help.”

Alex Neal, 14, one of the peer mentors involved in the drop in centre, said: “Moving from primary school to high school, meeting new people and having lots of different teachers, can be difficult.

“I wanted to be a peer mentor to help younger pupils who may have the same problems as we could have had in year seven.

“Pupils who use the drop in centre have said they like the idea of talking about issues with someone who is nearer their age.”

Missy Boyd, 14, who is attached to one of the year seven form groups, said: “I really like working with the year sevens. I feel I can understand how they feel because I came from a really small primary school and I was really unorganised in year seven, and I can use my experiences to help them.”

Teacher Jo Stevenson, the peer mentor coordinator, said: “The peer mentors are just fantastic. They are so enthusiastic. The whole philosophy behind the peer mentors is that students relate better to their peers than teachers and other adults.

“As well as helping the year seven students they are also developing their leadership, organisation, communication and listening skills.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter