Learning Mentors – Removing Barriers to Learning
Learning Mentors provide support and guidance to children, young people and those engaged with them. They work to remove barriers to learning in order to promote effective participation, enhance individual learning, raise aspirations and achieve full potential. They are skilled practitioners who work from a strengths-based, person-centred perspective. (CWDC Learning Mentor Practice Guide 2007)
Targeted Learning Mentor support is made available to children who have a barrier to learning that may be caused or include one or more of the following; Causes of need and presentation include but are not limited to;
- at risk of exclusion & disengagement from education
- emotional truancy
- Reluctant school attendees & school refusers
- multiple disadvantage and appear to persistently underachieve
- lack confidence and self esteem
- Vulnerable groups such as Looked after Children, Young Carers and those from forces families
- emotional difficulties
- Bullies and those who are victims of bullying
- vulnerable during transition periods
Observation, Information Gathering and Assessment
The learning Mentor process starts with an initial period of observation, information gathering and assessment. Before this can begin a Referral Form and Primary Assessment Profile must be received and parental consent gained The intervention will involve the Learning Mentor working on a 1:1 confidential basis with the child and giving the child space and time to tell their story. (A Mentoring Agreement explaining confidentiality will be signed by both child and mentor). Schools are asked to provide a confidential space for them to work together, locked storage for case files and access to a computer. Time will be spent building a positive relationship, working together to build confidence and self-esteem, supporting in class/small group work if relevant to the child’s barrier to learning. An individual learning plan will be designed around identified barrier, targets will be set by the child and mentor, progress monitored and reviewed, guidance and a listening ear will be provided.
When schools whish to refer a young person to our services, specifically a Learning Mentor, we use the R.A.F.I.E. (Referral, Assessment, Formulation, Intervention, Evaluation/Exit) model of referral:
Referral – Clarity of referral is key to supporting the effective working practice of the Learning Mentor and delivery of intervention programmes, it informs all Learning Mentor planning. The Learning Mentor will develop effective referral systems in consultation with their schools to identify children in need of mentoring support. Before a child is placed on the Learning Mentor Pupil Register a Referral Form and Primary Assessment Profile form will be completed by the staff member. The referral will be discussed with the SENCo / Inclusion Co-ordinator in order to consider the referral and prioritise support. Key information to inform planning will be taken from the referral form. In addition to referrals from staff, pupils can be referred to the Learning Mentor through tracking of the behaviour policy. Vulnerable pupils are also highlighted for referral of individual cases (or groups).
Assessment – assessment is made (through observations and via a range of profiling tools) of the individual or group to include the level and area/s of need.
Formulation – the setting of actions and targets for planned work via liaison with school staff, parents/carers and any other agencies that may be involved with the child.
Intervention – activation of the planned programme with the child or group.
Evaluation/Exit – following a period of intervention, ongoing review and the setting/re-formulation of targets; intervention will come to an end and final evaluations and closure of the case will occur.
Levels of Need
Learning Mentors work at Level 2 as single practitioners on the Plymouth-multiagency-threshold-of-need-leaflet continuum. However, mentors will often be working with children with higher levels of need, (i.e. those that are subject to integrated support or statutory/specialist services) – it is important that the mentor maintains professional integrity and works at the appropriate level in their capacity as learning mentor.
B.A.E. Audit Tool
Cluster schools use the Behaviour, Attendance and Emotional audit tool, (spread-sheet) to categorise pupils and identify areas of need for children at risk from poor behaviour, low attendance, low achievement and/or poor social, emotional and mental health and then appropriately refer on to the necessary support worker. This worker could be a school-based learning mentor, counsellor or therapist or M.A.S.T. Learning Mentors typically work at category B/C on the B.A.E continuum.
If you have any queries on the above process please contact Chris Trumfield firstname.lastname@example.org