A 2, 500 word assignment which examines the role of the learning mentor and analyses the strategies used in supporting science, evaluating the impact on pupils’ learning. This essay will explore and evaluate the role, the responsibilities and the purpose of the learning mentor. It will highlight and review strategies used in schools today to support children’s education, assisting them to develop skills and achieve their full potential. The learning mentor has a large range of duties which require the ability to encourage social inclusion, collaborate with external agencies for specialist support and expand care to families and carers. Responsibilities also include the contribution to the assessment of pupils, the transition and pastoral care of vulnerable students and to identify and remove barriers to learning that some young people are faced with during their time in education. All of these areas will be considered and analysed. I will thoroughly examine current practice, theory and reflect upon my own development. Whilst examining the role of the learning mentor, I will be specifically looking at science and how it is taught and supported in schools today. My aim is to highlight the importance of the learning mentor and the impact they have on a child’s achievement and success. It will also indicate how the learning mentor’s holistic approach builds self confidence, a sense of emotional belonging and overall creates the best conditions for students to flourish academically as well as personally. Consequently, this will allow me to develop and improve my own practice and professional progression in the future.
Education has not always recognised the holistic needs and development of children. However, over the years, the education system has seen a considerable amount of changes. It has been revolutionalised, transforming teaching from learning by rote to a multisensory, child centred, personalised education. This is due to many factors such as the development of technology, changes in society, values and attitudes, the recognition of children with additional needs and the implementation of learning mentors and support staff. So, when were learning mentors first introduced into schools and why? In 1999, as an out come from the 1997 White Paper, the Excellence in Cities (EiC) initiative was launched by the government to raise standards of attainment and was first piloted in disadvantaged, inner-city schools. As stated in Excellence in Cities: The National Evaluation of a Policy to Raise Standards in Urban Schools 2000-2003 (2005), Britain was in need of ‘inclusive schooling that recognises the different talents of all children and delivers excellence for everyone’. To achieve this objective, EiC implemented a gifted and talented programme, to provide extra support for 5-10 per cent of pupils in each school. Learning Support Units (LSU’s) were also introduced to provide intervention teaching and support programmes for difficult or vulnerable students and learning mentors were created to help students overcome educational or behaviour problems, ensuring that schools were inclusive of all. As highlighted by M.K Smith (1999) schools were able to utilise Learning Mentors for different matters according to their individuality, however the government did set out for the leaning mentor, four main objectives. These core beliefs from EiC are explained in Good Practice Guidelines for Learning Mentors (DFES 2001). Firstly, the learning mentor should have high expectations for every pupil, meeting the needs of all and taking an individualised approach to teaching and learning, ensuring barriers are removed so children can aspire regardless of the difficulties they may come up against. Barriers to opportunities could include family problems, bullying, low self esteem and poor social skills. The learning mentor must also establish good working relationships with pupils, parents, the community and other outside agencies. By creating...
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