Last Updated: Monday, March 05, 2018

InSync – Pupil mentoring - Viewforth High School

What is this?

A school-based mentoring intervention delivered by a partner agency/organisation (YMCA). Identified young people from Viewforth High School with significant barriers to learning, associated with poor attendance rates, are matched with a school based YMCA youth work mentor who builds a positive relationship with the young person and their family.

Who is this for?

​This exemplar will be useful to all secondary practitioners.

How to use this exemplar to improve practice?

One of the key elements to the success of this initiative has been the choice of the YMCA as the partner provider. Their credibility in the community is long standing and they are seen as key supporters of many families. Their involvement as partner providers was based on how they were perceived locally.

Other schools considering this approach should identify which organisation(s) are best placed to deliver this approach in their own community.

Improvement questions

  • How easy is it for a pupil who has been absent for an extended period to return and enjoy school?
  • How can we be more transparent and inclusive in our approaches to share the work of schools with parents and partners?
  • Have we successfully established an inclusive learning environment? How do we know?

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What was done?

Three YMCA youth workers were recruited and became members of the school staff, working in partnership with the school’s Pupil Support department to overtake targets identified jointly in each pupil’s individual plan.

Mentors and young people met during the week in school or in a neutral venue to get to know each other.

In conversations, developed over time, the mentor encouraged the young people to engage more productively in school and community-based activities, and to take a more positive approach to their lives.


Our data shows that patterns of generational poor attendance and limited or negative engagement need to be identified early and measures put in place to understand the causes and support re-engagement with life in school. We have found that lack of confidence in school often leads to a loss of confidence and self-belief and poor self-image. Each of these stages further distances our young people from their peers and makes return to school more difficult.

By building relations with the trusted youth workers we hope that pupils can be supported to reengage gradually with school activities leading to success particularly in the gateway qualifications in literacy and numeracy.

What was the impact?

Improvements in relationships between young people, their families, school and other services. In school, there has been some improvement in attendance rate of young people.