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Working as a Learning Mentor

Learning mentors are a relatively new addition to the school team. They may work in primary or secondary schools, with a range of age groups and children with a range of abilities. Learning mentors are an important part of the educational team, typically working with teachers, teaching assistants, the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (Senco) and senior staff. Their role may vary depending on the school and the needs of pupils, but they often act as an advocate for children and provide support for some of the most challenged children. In many schools, mentors have been able to significantly increase inclusion.

The role of a learning mentor varies enormously between schools, but typically may include:

  • identifying children who would benefit from one-to-one tutoring
  • discovering the reasons behind a child’s underachievement
  • develop positive relationships with families and outside agencies
  • helping children to draw up action plans and set goals for study, as well as developing their goal-setting skills
  • helping children to build their confidence
  • supporting children in the development of social skills and emotional literacy
  • participate in safeguarding and child protection activities
  • working with children to reduce exclusion and improve attendance and punctuality
  • promote an holistic approach to learning throughout school, where social and emotional growth and academic achievement are equally valued
  • identifying and removing barriers to learning that may prevent children from reaching their full potential.

Learning mentors usually work a 35 to 37-hour week (daytime hours), including some evening and occasional weekend work on extra-curricular activities or with parents. Preparation and administrative work is often done in the evening.

Skills and knowledge required by learning mentors include:

  • reliable, approachable, non-judgemental
  • a good listener
  • good communication skills and able to work with a variety of external agencies
  • strong team-working skills
  • problem solving skills
  • able to challenge mentees in a constructive and positive way
  • able to offer confidentiality to mentees whilst still playing a role within the school team

best route into becoming a learning mentor

There is no formal qualification for learning mentors so people tend to come into this role from a number of different directions; for example, they may have previously worked as a teaching assistant or qualified teacher, or they may have a non-educational background. The personal skills listed above are important, and new mentors should also demonstrate an interest in learning and enjoy working with children and young people. If you have no previous experience of working with children, a good starting point is to volunteer in school, at after-school clubs, or community work with children.

Borders short course, Mentoring Skills in School can offer a good introduction to this area, allowing you to develop core skills and understand more about the mentoring role.

Train as a Coach

Coaching helps people to tackle ‘blocks’ that are stopping them moving towards the sort of life they want. It is not about giving advice or telling clients what to do. It is about removing the obstructions that stop clients making changes, reaching their goals, and achieving a more balanced life. Coaching helps clients to tackle dissatisfaction and disappointment in their life, and may also help them to tackle issues of self-esteem and lack of confidence.

Life coaches support and encourage people to help them fulfil their potential and make the most of their lives. Business coaches and executive coaches support clients in a particular area of their life, whether with the development of their business or of their career, whilst relationship and divorce coaches focus on their clients’ personal lives.

Working as a coach may involve:

  • talking with the client about their situation
  • exploring the client’s values, attitudes and beliefs
  • helping clients to set their own short, medium and long-term goals
  • supporting clients in achieving their goals
  • helping clients to overcome barriers and setbacks
  • teaching clients strategies and skills that they can use to achieve more
  • exploring and developing clients’ relationship skills

… as well as many other aspects.

Where do coaches work?

Some coaches work within a larger business, often in a corporate setting, whilst many others are self-employed.

Coaches may work from an office or they may visit clients in their own home or meet them in their workplace. In some cases it is helpful to visit the client at home or in the work
place, to try to address their issues in the context in which they crop up. At other times, however, it is more helpful to take the client right out of their familiar environment, allowing them some distance and perspective on their experiences. A growing number of coaches work with clients online, either by email or by video-conferencing.

Entry requirements

Life coaching is not regulated in the UK, so anyone can work as a life coach if they feel they have the necessary skills and qualities. However, many clients favour coaches who have qualifications and membership of a professional organisation.

Find out more about training as a coach with the Coach Training Centre.

You can learn more about working as a coach by visiting the coaching directory at Life Coach UK.

Horticulture Qualifications

Achieve leading RHS Horticulture qualifications in just 3 hours a week!

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  • Accredited training with one-to-one tutor support.
  • Study at home in your own time.
  • Level 2 qualifications are an ideal entry-level for a new career and a good foundation for further study.
  • Level 3 qualifications are advanced certificates suited to career progression and as a foundation for entry to higher education.
  • Widely recognised by employers.
  • Leading RHS (QCF) qualifications.
[/custom_list] With distance learning, you can retrain for a new career or develop new work skills in just three hours a week!

There are no set class times, so you can fit study into your life in a way that suits you. You’ll benefit from one-to-one support from an expert personal tutor who you can contact by email or instant chat at any time.

[testimonial company=”RHS Level 2″ author=”Rachel Wilson” image=””]Completing the level 2 has helped me to find a new job in a plant nursery. I love being in the greenhouses – and for the first time in many years can’t wait to go into work every day… I was concerned about studying again because it’s so long since I was at school, but the course was easy to follow and Jane’s support with the assignments and during revision helped me to feel confident going into the exam. I couldn’t have done it without the course![/testimonial]

Learn More

Courses for Parents

We’ve launched a unique range of courses that offer parents the knowledge they need to support their children effectively, as well as the support of an expert parenting coach for the duration of the course!

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  • Work with an expert parenting coach.
  • Learn how to best support your children at home and school.
  • Learn more about the problems children may encounter during development.
  • Understand more about child psychology, and how children think and learn.
  • All courses include unlimited coaching support, so you can chat to an expert coach at any time, by email or instant chat. (Parenting coaches are available by instant chat between 9am and 9pm, 7 days a week.)

[testimonial company=”Positive Parenting Course” author=”Jenny Carpenter” image=””] Before I started the course I was feeling really down – all I seemed to do was tell the kids off, in-between rushing backwards and forwards to work! It was stressing me out and wasn’t that great for the kids either. Working on the course helped me to change the way I related to them both – I learned how to address problems more positively. My coach, Ruth, was fantastic and always there to listen. I still have too much to do – but the time I spend with my kids now is fun for all of us! Priceless![/testimonial]

Courses for Parents include: Positive Parenting, Child Psychology, Play Therapy Skills for Parents, Understanding ADHD, Understanding ASDs, and Understanding Dyslexia.

Explore Courses

We’ve extended our tutorial support service!

You can now contact your tutorial team by instant chat, 7 days a week, between 9am and 9pm each day. No other learning provider offers such extensive, direct access to tutors. It means you can talk directly to an expert tutor at a time that suits you best and fits in with your study schedule. No waiting for letters to arrive, or emails to be replied to!

If you are already studying with Borders UK, you can find your tutorial team’s contact page by clicking here.