The Raising Aspirations programme has been designed by Somerset Community Foundation as a response to the low levels of aspiration and achievement by many young people in Somerset. A particular concern was low GCSE attainment levels achieved in Somerset in 2009 and previous years by those students from low-income households. This ambitious programme draws on some of the lessons learned from work in inner city areas and adapts them to a more rural setting.
The programme mobilises resources in the business and wider community to help young people develop self belief, confidence and aspirational life goals, and ultimately fulfil their potential within Somerset and the communities where they live. Raising the students’ aspirations and their engagement is the most important outcome but we would also expect to see an improvement in attitudes to learning and improved GSCE results.
The Foundation has already successfully run the programme at Crispin School in Street and it has been proven that one to one contact with a mentor has raised children’s confidence, self-esteem , academic and employment aspirations and this has had a positive impact on their academic achievement at school. You can read more about Crispin school and their achievements by following this link:- http://www.somersetcf.org.uk/special-projects/raising-aspirations
Mentoring in Taunton Academy
We are delighted to announce that thanks to funding from Taunton Deane Borough Council we are now able to grow this innovative programme and offer 40 Year 7 students the opportunity to receive mentoring and support from an inspirational volunteer.
Taunton Academy is based in North Taunton and is a Church of England academy teaching pupils from 11-19. The Academy aims to raise the aspirations of young people so that they can achieve beyond their expectations and make a valuable contribution to their communities and the wider world.
We hope to start the mentoring in the autumn of 2015, and we are currently looking to recruit volunteer mentors. Face to face meetings take place 3 times a term, in the school, each session lasting for between 30 and 45 minutes. Ideally, a mentor would support a mentee throughout their time at their chosen school, or at least for 3 years.
The role of the mentor
The role of the mentor will be one of listening, encouraging, valuing and respecting – letting students come up with their own solutions. The students will be self selecting as much as possible and will represent a cross section of abilities.
A good mentor/coach should be:
- Interested in helping young people to succeed
- Approachable and flexible
- A good listener
- Non judgemental
Age is not an issue in itself but we are looking for individuals who can build a rapport with
young people, have an understanding of the current education system and be IT literate.
All mentors will receive training in advance of taking part in the programme and this is also a chance to meet other prospective mentors.
If you would are interested in becoming a mentor or keen to have an initial discussion then please contact Jenny Perez who would be delighted to hear from you.
Somerset Community Foundation
Tel: 01749 344949
Registered Charity No. 1094446