ERG SES G14, Mentoring and Education
During the 1990s English state schools, particularly those in the inner cities were experiencing severe problems with regard to standards and there was a genuine need improve the situation (LeGrand, 1993; Machin & Vignoles, 2005). In order to address these issues, the Excellence in Cities (EiC) initiative was launched in 1999. Learning mentors were a new strand of workforce introduced into English primary schools as part of the EiC. (Cruddas, 2005). Their mandate was to remove barriers to learning which hindered children’s full participation in their learning process which in turn caused low levels of social and academic achievement (Office for Standards in Education; Ofsted, 2005). Although initially it targeted secondary schools in major cities like London, Leeds, and Birmingham it was later extended to other areas. It was only at a later period that the scheme was extended to primary schools (Ofsted, 2005).
The Objective of the study.
Apart from a few government sponsored reports about the initial growth and development of the initiative and a very limited amount of literature, independent, academic research in this direction i.e. the primary school context, has been extremely scarce and inadequate. Previous research indicate that role the learning mentor as a new initiative was lacking in definition and schools were unsure how to deploy these new professionals (Golden & O’Connel, 2003). There has been some suggestions that despite significant growth in numbers, definition of the role as well as deployment of learning mentors particularly in primary schools have remained vague and based on the broad ideas of inclusion (Rose & Doveston, 2008; Rose & Jones, 2007). The main objective of the current research was to plug this gap by answering the principal research questions as to how service users and providers perceived the role of the learning mentors, how their role is developed and monitored and what is the perceived impact of mentoring on the social and educational outcomes for pupils in primary schools.
The current study is based upon the Ecological Systems Theory proposed by Bronfenbrenner (1979) according to which Microsystems are closest to the child and consist of the most intimate individuals and setting within which the child lives such as family members, school or friends. It is important to note that various components of the Microsystems overlap indicating their interrelation in the holistic development of the child.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The Ecology of Human Development, experiments by nature and design. London: Harvard University Press. Cruddas, L. (2005). Learning mentors in schools: policy and practice. Trentham Books. Curtis, S., Gesler, W., Smith, G. & Washburn, S. (2000) “Approaches to sampling and case selection in qualitative research: examples in the geography of health” in Social Science and Medicine, 50. 1001-14. Golden, S., Knight, S., O’Donnell, L., Smith, P. and Sims, D. (2003) “Learning Mentor Strand Summary: Executive Summary’, NFER, [online] www.nfer/research/EIC_CP2.asp. Le Grand, J. (1993) Quasi-Markets and Social Policy, London, Macmillan. Machin, S. and Vignoles, A. (2005) What’s the Good of Education? The Economics of Education in the United Kingdom, Princeton University Press. OfSTED (2005). Excellence in Cities, managing associated initiatives to raise standards, available on http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/excellence-cities-primary-extension-real-stories. Rose, R., & Jones, K. (2007). The efficacy of a volunteer mentoring scheme in supporting young people at risk. Emotional and behavioural difficulties, 12(1), 3-14. Rose, R. & Doveston, M. (2008). “Pupils talking about their learning mentors: what can we learn?” in Educational Studies, Vol. 34, No2, pp.145-155.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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