A new project, that trains older students in core coaching and mentoring skills, and matches them with a younger pupil identified by the school needing near peer support. Schools tend to engage year 12 and 13 pupils with students from year 7-10 who are experiencing dfficult y settling in or transitioning to more demanding school work.
The 6th formers and school can use the training hours and time given in supporting the younger peer as evidence for their Welsh Baccalaureate. In addition those applying to universities or going into employment can highlight the skills learnt in their applications to institutions and employers.
The project creates a sustainable pool of schools based volunteers for staff to call upon to support younger pupils and it complements existing buddy systems by creating informed, skilled and supportive near peers. Some also use the techniques learned to find solutions to improve their own grades and studies.
Near Peer is a project we are excited about and feel is useful in all sorts of transitional settings.
I have thoroughly enjoyed being a peer mentor this year as it has allowed me the opportunity to help those younger than me who were struggling with school life. Furthermore, becoming a peer mentor has given me tools I need to improve my communication skills which has taught me just how important listening in a conversation is.
Being a part of the Near Peer Mentor scheme has been a very fulfilling experience. It gave me a chance to connect to other pupils younger than me and realise the skills needed to become a good mentor. I’ve learnt so much including things I didn’t realise were important life skills I would use, such as listening, asking open/non-leading questions etc. I had worked with three pupils in this last year and each with their own different need, this showed me how the abilities I’ve gained in being a peer mentor can be applied to so many aspects and even conflicts that can occur in work and general life. I’d highly recommend becoming a peer mentor if not just for the important skills, then for the experience and satisfaction in helping younger pupils”
‘Being a near peer mentor has allowed me the opportunity to help someone when they needed it the most. It gave them the chance to have the option to talk to someone. The best feeling about it all is when they actually say that they don’t need to see you anymore because they are no longer struggling. You then begin to understand the impact you have had on this person’s life and actually see how you have helped them make improvements. Being a peer mentor has really been a great experience’.
‘Near Peer mentoring was something I had never heard about until the start of year 12. At the end of the initial introduction, I realised how crucial this type of mentoring could have been for me or my friends. I know that mentoring and counselling in general can be beneficial but the age difference between the mentor and mentee can lead to misunderstanding and frustration. Peer mentoring not only provides support for aspects such as school work and stress but being a similar age means that they can talk to someone who has gone through comparable experiences. I think that more people should have a go at peer mentoring as it can help you become a better listener and I would highly recommend trying peer mentoring – it is a great feeling to know that you have made a positive impact to someone’s life’.