New College Pontefract pioneers Peer Mentoring scheme

New College Pontefract is in its third year of a developed mentoring programme, pairing students to improve their academic performance whilst raising aspirations for the future. Peer Mentoring here is a working relationship between two students who are a similar age, where one student has more experience in a situation and can provide support as well as a transfer of knowledge and skills.

The mentee decides on their area of need based on exams or lesson activities, depending on where they feel the additional support should be targeted. They then meet up with their mentor every other week. As the relationship develops, the mentee may discover they have something to offer the mentor in terms of other experiences, knowledge or skills, which then develops the partnership into a positive two-way relationship, evening out the balance.

Our mentors were trained by Cosmos Engagement. Research shows that mentoring delivers many benefits of commitment, motivation and performance. People who are mentored are likely to be more engaged with their work and perform to a higher level, with mentees often becoming mentors to others.

Here are some of the things that our mentors said about the training:

  1. ‘I really enjoyed the training and think that I now possess the skills to mentor’.
  2. ‘I was apprehensive to start with but just got involved. I can see me using these skills to structure my own stuff as well as the person I’m mentoring’.
  3. ‘I have enjoyed the training and am actually looking forward to mentoring. I am also looking forward to putting it on my CV’.
  4. ‘The Cosmos staff were professional but still welcoming. All the activities were useful life skills as well as for mentoring, and helpful in starting the conversation’.
  5. ‘Today has been a really useful day. The entire time has been an educational experience and I would gladly do it again’.
  6. ‘Really interactive and good at getting everyone involved’.
  7. ‘Effective for improving my skills on how to give advice and consider different perspectives’.
  8. ‘Great to understand what the qualities of a mentor are and how mentoring is used to help individuals’.
  9. ‘Very enjoyable, very informative and made some new friends. Felt involved’.
  10. ‘As a previous peer mentor, I was confident coming to the session as it was something I’d enjoyed previously. I think it helped to build my confidence as I had to speak to new people. I enjoyed the session and it was engaging.’

Jane Rolfe from Pontefract New College said, “We’re continually looking for ways to add value to our student experience while in college compared to their starting point, so the Peer Mentoring programme certainly fits with our overall vision statement ‘Our colleges and schools will make a significant difference to the lives of young people. As a result, together we will make a positive contribution to social mobility’.”


Jane Rolfe, Pontefract New College