Over the past few years we at Framlingham College have built a successful peer mentoring system so that the younger pupils can benefit from the experience and knowledge of older ones.
At the start of each Autumn Term, we train Year 12 pupils (volunteers) for this Peer Mentoring Scheme. Pupils receive training led by our school Counsellor, Tom Huber, in areas such as listening and counselling skills, learning to empathise, confidentiality, building trust and effective communication.
Such schemes have been gathering momentum and support in schools in recent years and have proved to be invaluable for students who call upon their services as well as for those students who offer themselves for the role of peer mentor.
This Peer Mentoring Scheme was introduced several years ago and it has proved to be a most successful and worthwhile venture, with over 65% of all Sixth Form having received the training. This is testament to their own philosophies towards pastoral care of which we are very proud.
It is the students’ role to act as a support and listening service for any student in the College who feels the need, for whatever reason, to talk to someone of approximately their own age about any problems they are encountering in their school life. We try to match mentors and mentees based on similar backgrounds and interests so that they can identify with them and empathise with the obstacles they face. They are also more likely to find the advice and coping mechanisms which they are taught by their mentor useful for the specific challenges they encounter.
For our team of peer mentors, who are overseen and guided by Pastoral Deputy Head, Tom Caston, the Housemasters and Mistresses and the Pastoral Prefect, this role also proves ideal preparation for future prefect responsibility as they move towards the end of their school careers.
We believe that this scheme can continue to be a most exciting and helpful initiative and one that adds an extra dimension to the overall care and well-being of our student body as they move through adolescence and the increasing emotional and academic pressures that can accompany this period in their lives. It is not intended to replace any of the well-established systems of pastoral care that we currently have in place but is designed to work alongside our existing structures and provide another avenue for pupils to use as and when the need may arise. It recognises that our own pupils can be an effective part of the pastoral work of the College and help directly by playing a leading role in caring for others in their community.
Towards the end of Year 7 pupils learn peer listening skills preparing them for leadership roles as a Year 8 pupil. Pupils learn how to safeguard themselves, their friends and younger pupils, when to seek support from an adult and what they can do to be an important part of the thriving and happy school community.