Student Voice: Buddies and Speed Dating – The New Face of Mentoring!
Since joining Bournemouth School, every one of us has attended at least one mentoring session. We’ve all sat awkwardly in an empty classroom, facing our form tutor, worrying whether they’ve noticed the absence of our school diary or, worse, read our most recent school report! New feedback relating to your experiences of mentoring has prompted some very interesting discussions within the School Council and, as a result, significant changes have been proposed.
A great mentor can remember exactly what it is like to be the new guy starting out on a fresh journey! Therefore, our current Year 7 group are going to be the pioneers of a new ‘Buddy’ system proposed to welcome the new intake of September 2018. (A name for this role is yet to be decided; unfortunately, referring to you as ‘Big Brothers’ may conjure up less than ideal, dystopian visions of power and surveillance.) We feel confident that you will be best placed to guide our newest recruits through the challenges of starting a new school. From September 2018, new Year 7’s will be able to meet, and chat, on a regular basis with their allocated ‘buddy’ from the year above. Advice on ‘real life’ topics such as ‘canteen versus deli bar’, handy homework hacks and, of course, the multitude of excuses that can be employed for the annual cross country run … “Sorry Sir, I’ve forgotten my legs!!!” … will be just as important as providing our new friends with information on clubs and societies, acclimatisation to senior school and generally finding their way around our enormous site. The Buddy system is a successful format which is already being used in many nearby schools and we are hopeful that it will offer a constructive alternative to the more formal 1:1 sessions with form tutors.
A great mentor is able to empathise with others when they are needing to make difficult decisions. Students in Year 8 are also going to see changes to their own mentoring provision. Subject ‘ambassadors’ from Years 10 and 11 will be helping to trial a new ‘Speed Dating’ type session … Don’t panic, it’s not what you think!!! In order to help guide students through the difficult task of choosing GCSE options, stations will be set up in the hall where Year 8’s can speak to older students and teachers about the various subjects on offer. After 5 minutes, someone important will ring a bell and everyone will move to a new station. Quick fire questions can be answered with concise, honest, no-frills responses and Year 8 students can gather that all-important information in a fun, but informative, way.
A great mentor possesses a willingness to share their own experiences and help others in finding the right direction. For many, one of the highlights of Year 10 is Work Experience. However, choosing where to go can be a difficult and daunting task. It is planned that students from Year 12 will be available to share their work experiences with Year 10 and inspire them with ideas for their own choices. A database of placements previously undertaken is currently under construction and more details of this will be available very soon. Watch this space!
As you can see, your School Council is alive and kicking! Your opinions are being heard and changes are definitely being made. Every half term, representatives from every form meet together as a year group and then again as a whole school council. All manner of topics are discussed, but we are particularly interested in simple ideas that have the potential to make a huge difference. These are often quick to implement, but have a major impact on our school life!
Don’t forget … tell us what’s on your mind and let’s get talking about it!