Queen Elizabeth’s has a long-established system of peer mentoring, because we recognise both that younger pupils sometimes need support and that they may find it easier to discuss their worries with a fellow pupil than with a member of staff.
We also believe that it is inherently beneficial to promote relationships between younger boys and those further up the School.
Each peer mentor is a trained Sixth-Former who is assigned to a Lower School form or individual pupil. His role is to offer support and guidance wherever it is needed.
All tutor groups in Years 7 and 8 are assigned a form mentor. Wherever possible, these mentors are drawn from the same house as the form to which they are assigned. They visit their allocated tutor group on a regular basis and are available at a specified time and place for any boy within the tutor group who wishes to meet with them to discuss problems or worries. We have found that raising certain specific topics in class – in our PSHE programme, for example – can be a useful way of encouraging younger boys to come forward to discuss their concerns. These topics include organising themselves, joining clubs, bullying and the transition between primary and secondary school.
In addition to form mentors, we also have one-on-one mentors, to whom pupils in Years 7-9 may be referred. Meetings are then held each week, giving the younger boy a friendly ear to talk to and the opportunity to work towards targets agreed between him and his mentor. Common issues tackled by one-on-one mentors include boys feeling as if they do not fit in, worrying about work and those finding it difficult to get more involved.
We have found peer mentoring to be a valuable part of the wide network of support the School offers to ensure both boys’ emotional wellbeing and that they are able to get the most out of their time at QE.