Learner Voice is an integral part of life in our school. All learners are encouraged to take an active role in decision-making processes that lead to improving the quality of life and learning here at Birchwood. The focal point for this is our School Council, made up of representatives from Year 7 to 11 and led by our Learner Officer team.
Birchwood Community High School Learner Officer Team 2018-19
The peer-mentoring scheme at Birchwood Community High School has been running successfully for several years now. It enables older, more experienced learners to support and guide any learner who needs it.
All the peer mentors have been through a specific training programme to develop skills such as communication, empathy, listening skills and have completed safeguarding training. Moreover, some of the peer mentors may have experienced similar challenges to the ones faced by younger learners. Peer mentors are also anti-bullying ambassadors of the school and engage in anti-bullying week. This strengthens their knowledge and understanding of problems that the mentees might face.
Mentors help their mentee in a variety of ways:
Improving study skills
Made aware of services such as Warrington youth centre
Improving self-esteem and confidence
Improving communication skills
Strengthening academic skills/organisation
Referring issues onto the Learner Services team
Providing a listening ear
Advising them on what to do next
Mentees are not the only ones who benefit; the peer mentors also develop a number of interpersonal skills! Confidence; listening; organisation and commitment are the four main ones. Some mentors say that they enjoy their role as they feel they are helping to improve a learner’s school experience. Others say that they enjoy being a peer mentor as they learn skills to help them in their own life.
Peer mentors are supported in their role by the staff in Learner Services; Mrs Butler, Mrs Wood and Mr Moore. The peer mentor and mentee usually meet up for a one-to-one session every week. Peer mentors are generally from Year 9, Year 10, Year 11.