Mentoring For Virtual Schools

Young people in the Virtual Schools population are among the most vulnerable group accessing education. Many will have suffered physical, psychological and emotional abuse, loss, deprivation and trauma, and almost all will understandably be struggling to process their feelings. One of the first things that falls by the wayside when a young person is struggling with emotional, psychological and mental health issues is education.

“Looked After Children are 4 times more likely to have recognised special educational needs”

Tackling complex underlying issues

We are passionate about working with Virtual Schools, to ensure education providers have access to a targeted support service aimed at tackling the complex underlying issues this population commonly faces, and helping remove barriers to education wherever possible. For a multitude of reasons, Looked After Children are four times more likely to have recognised special educational needs, and nine times more likely to have more complex needs that require the support of an EHC plan.

Our Challenging Me mentoring programme is one such service that is helping to drive positive change and improve outcomes for this vulnerable population.

By providing a safe, secure and nurturing environment, our 12-step mentoring programme encourages these young people to consider themselves in relation to the experiences they have lived through and to work towards re-engaging with learning. We personalise a plan of support for each young person we work with, collaborating with the Virtual School, the educational setting and any external support services to ensure we’re setting the right targets and can achieve the best results. And we give the young person a say in who it is they work with, challenging from the very beginning the beliefs they have about themselves, as well as the powerlessness they so often feel about determining the course of their own lives.

By adapting every element of the programme to suit the needs of each young person, we are able to create a safe, supportive, and individualised space for these young people to grow within.

Our mentors encourage them to be honest with and about themselves, working towards a reframing of their worldview and ultimately a re-engagement with learning. Young people who experience persistent social, emotional, behavioural and mental health difficulties are more vulnerable to drug and alcohol use, exploitation, knife crime, gang affiliation, criminality and prison. Those with the additional risk factor of having experienced inconsistent care and a lack of healthy, supportive relationships are even more vulnerable to finding themselves being drawn into risky situations that they are ill-equipped to manage.

‘Through our Challenging Me Mentoring programme, we model relationships that are built on positive communication, trust and respect.’

The benefits of working with us

We work with Virtual Schools to ensure educational settings are able to provide the right support to their looked-after pupils, while also working with the young people themselves. Our highly-trained and specially selected mentors are able to encourage these young people to recognise and restructure the beliefs, thoughts and behaviours that are unhelpful to them, and then inspire them to become confident, resilient young people with hopes, aspirations and goals. Our mentors have been where these young people are; they have faced the same challenges and, with grit and determination, have made it to the other side. It is this real-life experience that forms the basis of everything we do in the Challenging Me programme.

We help to empower the young person to make positive, sustainable change.

We help to reduce conflict and increase engagement in the setting.

We help support growth by providing time, space and encouragement.

Through targeted, individualised support we drive meaningful results.

Don’t just take our word for it