Thomas thinks it is unacceptable that some students don’t feel supported by staff and feel little to no connection to their school. He believes in a school where all students are supported in their learning and their lives, and where all students feel a sense of connection to their school community. However, the reality at the beginning of the year at Thomas’ school was that most students didn’t have positive connections within the school. At the same time, some students reported not having a positive role model in their school setting, and others said they didn’t feel supported in their education. Thomas decided to tackle the lack of positive student-teacher relationships as the root cause he was focussing on.
Through fostering positive relationships between students and key teachers, Thomas could see that an environment where all students feel supported in their education and future prospects could be developed. He decided to set up a program where all Year 12 students benefitted from group mentoring over the course of the year.
Thomas liaised with his school and together they replaced ‘Homegroup’ with mentoring sessions every day for all Year 12 students. A group of 6 teachers were selected from a group of Year 12 teacher (one from each Area of Learning) and each of these staff members became a mentor for a group of 20+ Year 12 students. Importantly, this teacher’s role was the development of relationships, not teaching or content delivery! The mentor teachers held regular interviews with the students to monitor their individual progress, wellbeing and to offer support. The mentor also acted as an advocate for the students when needed. Informal cafes and lunches were set up to foster a relaxed and positive environment to enhance buy in and engagement.
Thomas has had a positive impact on 150 Year 12 students this year, all of whom participated in the mentoring program.
90% of all staff surveyed said that this program had a positive impact on students, and 92% said this should permanently replace Homegroup for the senior school students at his site.
Like the idea?
Thomas would love your support for Replacing Homegroup with Mentoring, or for you to start a similar program in your school, and he’d love to hear about any ideas you have or lend a hand where he can. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch with Thomas and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer him on in the comments below as well.
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