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Learning mentor: Job description

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Learning mentors provide a complementary service to teachers and other staff, addressing the needs of learners who require help in overcoming barriers to learning in order to achieve their full potential.

They work with a range of learners, but give priority to those who need the most help, especially those experiencing multiple disadvantages.

The variety of issues covered is vast, ranging from punctuality, absence, challenging behaviour and abuse to working with able and gifted learners who are experiencing difficulties.

Learning mentors are predominantly education based (in primary, secondary and further education settings) but have a wider remit including families and the wider community. They work with children or young adults on a one-to-one basis or in small or large groups.

Sometimes learning mentors work in offender learning and will also work with adult learners in the education system.

Typical work activities

Learning mentors perform a wide-ranging role. Duties vary depending on the nature of the job, for example the level of expertise required and complexity of the work expected.

Some posts require a degree and experience of working with vulnerable and challenging young people and will expect post holders to manage their own case load and plan, deliver and measure interventions to support the young people they work with.

Others will require GCSEs in English and maths and will expect mentors to work in a supporting role.

Tasks often include:

  • liaising with staff to identify learners who would benefit from mentoring;
  • helping learners who are underperforming in their subjects, either on a one-to-one basis outside the classroom or within lessons;
  • implementing strategies and supporting learners in self-esteem and confidence-building activities;
  • listening to and helping learners resolve a range of issues that are creating barriers to learning;
  • drawing up agreed action plans with learners, outlining the aims of the mentoring, and monitoring their progress;
  • monitoring attendance and punctuality of learners;
  • visiting parents at home to discuss issues and problems, and running group sessions and workshops for parents at school;
  • advising parents on behaviour strategies and parenting skills;
  • networking with other learning mentors and teachers and relevant external agencies;
  • liaising with relevant professionals and individuals, e.g. educational psychologists, the police and social services;
  • setting up breakfast clubs and after-school clubs as well as running extracurricular activities, such as homework clubs, reading clubs, sports, music and discos, during lunchtimes or as out-of-school activities;
  • organising drop-in 'offload' sessions for learners, where they can talk about a particular issue;
  • providing group activities such as anger management classes;
  • maintaining accurate records and preparing written reports and evaluations;
  • helping to secure funding to support learners' additional educational needs;
  • managing your own professional development through undertaking relevant training and sharing best practice with other learning mentors;
  • helping with transition activities for learners moving to secondary schools or on to further education.

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Written by Gemma Halder, AGCAS
December 2014

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