More than 350 students from Nottingham Trent University and The University of Nottingham have provided 25,000 hours of support in local schools and colleges, including a number of academies, in the current academic year.
The Students in Classrooms initiative run by a team within the university’s Schools, Colleges & Community Outreach Department in collaboration with The University of Nottingham’s Widening Participation Team – enables students from both universities to become either ‘mentors’ or ‘associates’.
Mentors offer one-to-one guidance, support and personal direction to 13 to 17 year olds who have the potential to progress onto higher education, whilst associates work alongside an established classroom teacher to offer support in a primary school, secondary school or college.
Alternatively, Nottingham Trent University students can become ‘student ambassadors’. They help to support the university at a wide variety of events and activities taking place for pupils from primary school age through to post-16 year-olds, as well as mature students, parents and carers.
David Woolley, Head of Schools Colleges and Community Outreach, Nottingham Trent University, said: “The Students in Classrooms team has provided thousands of university students over the past 14 years with the chance to develop their skills, whilst providing much-needed support in the local community.
“The schemes both deliver support to schools, colleges and academies, with the aim of impacting positively on pupil attainment levels, and provide our students with the practical experiences they need to develop their CVs and improve their employability skills.
“Through these opportunities, students make a huge positive impact on local pupils. They engage with them in ways that we can’t and, as well as providing one-to-one support and skills building which can help raise pupils’ aspirations and their grades, they act as positive role models to help pupils see what can be possible. They also provide a honest, first-hand perspective of what it’s like to be a student.”
Neil Kennedy, Head of Sixth Form and Mentor Coordinator, Kirkby College, added: “The mentoring scheme has supported endless students to maximise their potential at Kirkby College and without such intervention our students would no doubt have a less positive future. The mentors are all dedicated, driven and want nothing but the best for our students.
“The scheme offers a tailor-made programme of long-term support with regards to careers, revision strategies and study skills and our students have all gained in self-confidence and self-worth. They now feel ready and equipped to meet the academic challenges with higher aspirations and expectations.”
In the current academic year (2014-2015) 101 mentors – including 70 from Nottingham Trent University – worked with over 400 pupils in 19 schools, colleges and academies and 166 associates – including 135 from Nottingham Trent University – worked in 37 schools across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, whilst 94 Nottingham Trent University students were recruited as ambassadors.