Learning mentors support, motivate and challenge pupils who are underachieving. They help pupils overcome barriers to learning caused by social, emotional and behavioural problems.

Learning mentors need good listening skills and an understanding of health and social issues that affect children and young people's development. The mentors mainly work with children who experience 'barriers to learning', including poor literacy/numeracy skills, under-performance against potential, poor attendance, disaffection, danger of exclusion, difficult family circumstances and low self-esteem.

Day-to-day tasks could include:

  • identifying, in association with school staff, pupils who would benefit from mentoring
  • liaising with parents and carers to promote a mutually respectful relationship with a school
  • helping pupils who are underperforming in their subjects on a one-to-one basis outside the classroom
  • implementing strategies and supporting pupils in confidence-building activities
  • listening to and helping pupils resolve a range of issues that are creating barriers to learning
  • drawing up agreed action plans with pupils
  • monitoring attendance of pupils, and working closely with teachers and other professionals, such as social workers, educational psychologists, education welfare officers and Connexions personal advisers.

What skills do I need?

  • to be empathetic and a good listener
  • to be encouraging and motivating, and
  • to enjoy mentoring young people.

What qualifications and experience will employers look for?

Suitable qualifications can be identified by visiting the Register of Regulated Qualifications. The national occupational standards (NOS) for learning, development and support services (LDSS) provide a basis for some qualifications.

The level 2 Award, support work in schools, is suitable for all support staff in schools and it will help applicants demonstrate an understanding of how schools work; child and young person development; safeguarding the welfare of children and young people; the importance of communication with adults and children and equality, and diversity and inclusion in work with children and young people.