Learning mentors offer support and guidance to children and young people who are struggling with social, emotional or behavioural issues that affect their ability to learn

As a learning mentor, you'll support, motivate and guide pupils, including gifted and talented learners, to help them overcome barriers that are preventing them from achieving their full potential. You'll work closely with teachers and other staff to identify the needs of learners who require help and plan how to support them.

Barriers to learning can include:

  • abuse
  • challenging behaviour
  • emotional issues
  • lack of confidence
  • mental ill health
  • persistent absence and truancy
  • punctuality.

You might work with children or young people on a one-to-one basis or in small or large groups. Priority is given to pupils who need the most help, especially those experiencing multiple disadvantages.

Although you'll be based predominantly in education settings (primary and secondary schools and further education colleges), you will have a broader remit including families and the wider community.

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

Job titles vary and may include learning support mentor, behaviour mentor, academic mentor or student mentor.


Your duties will vary depending on the school and local authority you're working for, and also on the level and complexity of the role, and the amount of responsibility you have.

As a learning mentor you'll typically need to:

  • liaise with staff to identify learners who would benefit from mentoring
  • discuss and help decide how identified needs will be addressed
  • implement strategies and support learners in self-esteem and confidence-building activities
  • support learners who are underperforming in their subjects, either on a one-to-one basis outside the classroom or within lessons
  • listen to learners and help them resolve a range of issues that are creating barriers to their learning
  • draw up agreed action plans with learners, outlining the aims of the mentoring, and monitor their progress
  • monitor attendance and punctuality of learners
  • inspire and motivate learners and help to promote positive behaviour
  • visit parents at home to discuss issues, and run group sessions and workshops for parents at school
  • advise parents on behaviour strategies and parenting skills
  • network with other learning mentors, teachers and relevant external agencies and professionals, such as educational psychologists, the police and social services
  • set up breakfast and after-school clubs and run extra-curricular activities, such as homework clubs, reading clubs, sports, music and discos, during lunchtimes or as out-of-school activities
  • organise drop-in 'offload' sessions, where learners can discuss particular issues
  • provide group activities such as anger management classes
  • maintain accurate records and prepare written reports and evaluations
  • attend meetings relating to issues such as pastoral support and pupil inclusion
  • help to secure funding to support learners' additional educational needs
  • manage your own professional development through undertaking relevant training and sharing best practice with other learning mentors
  • help with transition activities for learners moving to secondary schools or on to further education.


  • Salaries for learning mentors typically start at around £18,000.
  • As you gain experience, this can rise to £22,000.
  • Experienced learning mentors can earn around £26,000. You may earn in excess of this amount if you have supervisory or management responsibilities, or specialist expertise in areas such as safeguarding, for example.

Most contracts are term-time only, so you'll be paid pro-rata (a portion of full-time rates). This means that your take-home pay can be a lot less. Many learning mentors are employed on part-time or fixed-term contracts, which will also affect the amount of take-home pay you receive.

Your salary will also vary depending on your skills and experience, location and level of responsibility.

There isn't a national pay scale for learning mentor salaries. However, schools may follow the local government pay scale for support staff, although this varies depending on the type of school. Independent, academy and free schools don't have to follow LA pay guidelines and can set their own pay scales.

Income figures are intended as a guide only.

Working hours

Working hours are usually 35 to 40 hours, Monday to Friday, during term time. You may need to work occasional evenings to support extracurricular activities, attend staff meetings or to visit parents.

You may also need to do some preparation and administrative work in the evening if you have been busy with students all day.

Part-time work, fixed-term contracts and job sharing are available.

What to expect

  • You'll usually be based in a school or college.
  • Jobs are available throughout the country.
  • The job may be challenging but watching pupils achieve their potential can also be extremely rewarding.
  • Dress is usually smart but practical.
  • You may need to travel in the school's catchment area to see parents or occasionally to attend meetings in other schools and settings.


This area of work is open to all graduates and those with an HND. You may find it helpful to have a degree or HND in a national curriculum subject, or one covering some of the issues involved in learning mentoring. In particular, the following subjects may improve your chances:

  • early childhood years
  • education
  • English
  • maths
  • psychology
  • social science
  • social work
  • youth work.

It's also possible to take a foundation degree in learning support. Search UCAS for a list of courses.

Entry without a degree or HND is also possible. You'll need a good standard of general education, including GCSEs, or equivalent, in English and maths. Some employers will also ask for A-levels/Level 3 qualifications or equivalent experience. For some roles, employers will either require or prefer a degree-level qualification.

It might be useful to take a mentoring or supporting teaching and learning qualification as a useful introduction to the sector and to gain an understanding of the knowledge and skills you need to work with children or young people in primary, secondary or special schools. For some courses you have to be working, or on a practical placement, in an education setting (either paid or voluntary). For more information on relevant courses, see QualHub.

You can also enter the role via a Level 3 learning mentor advanced apprenticeship, combining paid work with part-time study. Search Find an apprenticeship for opportunities.

A postgraduate degree isn't necessary for entry, but some learning mentors have professional qualifications and training in areas such as:

  • counselling
  • education
  • guidance
  • psychology and health
  • youth, community or social work.

You'll also need to undertake an enhanced criminal record check as you'll be working with children and young people.


You'll need to have:

  • excellent communication and listening skills
  • the ability to empathise with and motivate learners
  • skills in persuading, negotiation and influencing
  • determination to see problems and solutions through to the end
  • a non-judgemental approach
  • organisation and time management skills
  • the ability to relate to young people in order to build trust so that they can achieve their full potential
  • the ability to analyse problems and devise solutions
  • the skills to work collaboratively as part of a team as you'll be working closely with other teaching staff and also external agencies
  • flexibility and adaptability, as well as the ability to work well under pressure
  • report writing skills and the ability to maintain accurate records
  • good general IT skills
  • a commitment to equality and diversity
  • an understanding of confidentiality and the handling of sensitive information
  • knowledge of, and a commitment to, safeguarding in schools.

Work experience

It's essential that you get experience of working with children and young people in either a paid or voluntary role. Experience of mentoring or coaching is particularly valuable, as well as work in an education setting. Examples include youth work, working in a school or for a holiday camp or holiday activity club.

Competition for jobs can be fierce but relevant experience will improve your chances. Any voluntary work that involves working with young people and helping them to solve problems or look at issues that are affecting them is helpful.

Some vacancies specifically ask for experience in a front-line service such as education, social care, the police, health or careers guidance.

Your university may run mentoring schemes, which provide an opportunity to gain experience. Local authorities may also run volunteer learning mentor schemes.

Experience of mentoring in a range of roles outside of education is also useful, for example supporting people with disabilities, peer-to-peer mentoring or helping young people with their mental health.

In order to gain relevant experience of working with children, you'll need to undertake a criminal record check.

Find out more about the different kinds of work experience and internships that are available.


As a learning mentor, you'll generally work with assigned individuals or as part of a team in primary and secondary schools, academies and colleges.

You could work in other areas, such as special schools, further education colleges and pupil referral units.

You will usually be employed directly by schools and colleges.

Look for job vacancies at:

You can also check individual school websites, local council vacancy bulletins and local council websites for opportunities.

Specialist recruitment agencies such as EduStaff and eTeach handle vacancies.

Vacancies are also advertised on LinkedIn.

Professional development

Training is usually on the job from colleagues and senior staff. In the first year of employment, you should aim to build up a portfolio detailing your activities and attend several days of training.

As a newly appointed learning mentor, you'll undertake an induction programme, which aims to ensure all support staff are able to carry out their responsibilities competently and with confidence. It should help you to provide dependable support to learners while upholding school policies.

Internal and external training may be available in particular areas relevant to the needs of the school, for example:

  • addressing cross-cultural issues
  • how to work on anger management with learners
  • supporting learners with special educational needs
  • working with parents
  • integrating your role in the school
  • networking
  • teambuilding.

Courses are also available in areas such as safeguarding, counselling and positive behaviour management strategies, which may be paid for by your employer.

You are responsible for your own career development and will need to seek out in-house and external opportunities relevant to your role.

Career prospects

You could begin your career as an assistant learning mentor or learning mentor and then progress, through experience, to the role of lead learning mentor or learning mentor coordinator, coordinating the work of a group of learning mentors in a cluster of schools.

With experience it's possible to specialise in working with particular client groups, for example excluded students or children with specific learning disabilities.

You could also undertake further training and qualifications to move into other related professions, such as:

  • careers and advice work
  • counselling
  • social and probation work
  • special or alternative education
  • speech and language therapy
  • teaching
  • the voluntary sector and charities
  • youth work, youth offending teams and education welfare.

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