As part of the visits and evidence gathering the Social Inclusion Process undertaken over the past months, much evidence pointed to the positive impact that mentoring has on children, particular those at risk of being excluded from school. However many people pointed to that fact that traditionally mentoring in Birmingham follows a “deficit model”, whereby only those who are in trouble receive extra support often creating wider divisions, distrust and stigmatisation. It is also clear that mentoring is only as good as the mentor.
However many people we spoke to felt that it was important to adopt an asset based approach to mentoring as every child in the city can benefit from having a mentor, and these can take different forms – parents, teachers, friends, community workers. etc.
There are numerous models about how this could be implemented, but the evidence does suggest that it is important in providing other pathways other than exclusion, resulting in better outcomes for the child. For example, where Herman Stewart’s Raising Achievement Mentoring Programme (RAMP) has been implemented, there has been a demonstrable increase in GCSE attainment. However the aremany methods. The role of peer to peer mentoring in schools through vertical tutoring or through schemes such as the Boy’s Brigade “Urban Buddies” scheme might be explored further.
On the other hand, some people we have spoken to indicated that mentoring shouldn’t be structured and that such institutional approaches to mentoring can leave to it becoming over complicated. Especially as the best mentoring is often through organic relationships such as families and friends.
Birmingham’s Social Inclusion Green paper – a document containing recommendations to address inclusion in the city – contains a recommendation around mentoring within the Commitment to “create a city that values young people”
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