‘Making Professional Friends’: Mentees’ and Facilitators’ Experiences of a School-Based Peer Mentoring Intervention to Support Primary to Secondary School Transition

Prof Doc Thesis

Lakin, S. 2020. ‘Making Professional Friends’: Mentees’ and Facilitators’ Experiences of a School-Based Peer Mentoring Intervention to Support Primary to Secondary School Transition. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8884y
AuthorsLakin, S.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Secondary school transition is a significant marker in children’s education, which can have widespread negative impacts for some young people (Riglin, Frederikson, Shelton, & Rice, 2013). Preventative interventions to support social and emotional needs during the transition are gaining popularity (Department for Education, 2015); yet research into understanding approaches that work is limited. Young people prefer support from people who can relate to them; therefore peer approaches, predominantly peer mentoring interventions are increasingly being used in schools (Podmore, Fonagy, & Munk, 2018).

Little is known about the mechanisms of change in peer mentoring, particularly when used to support secondary transition. Therefore, the current study was developed to both explore the experiences of young people participating in a transition peer mentoring project; and to understand from the perspectives of the mentees and programme facilitators what aspects of the intervention they thought facilitated change. The study took a critical realist epistemological position and utilised a qualitative design to enable the voices of the mentees to be fully heard.

Three focus groups were held with thirteen mentees in year seven and three facilitators participated in individual interviews. The transcripts were subjected to two separate thematic analyses. Twelve of the mentees noticed positive outcomes following the intervention; including increased confidence, preparation for secondary school and relational changes. The participants emphasised the importance of building trusting, supportive relationships in facilitating change, and reflected that the peer support model worked well, as mentors could relate to the mentees’ experiences.

This research supports the need to promote positive mental health and prevention in schools, and demonstrates the benefits of a continued relationship across the school transition. The limitations of the study are explored, along with recommendations about future research, including longitudinal explorations of peer mentoring and the importance of collaboration between education and mental health settings.

PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.8884y
File Access Level
Publication dates
Online01 Oct 2020
Publication process dates
SubmittedMay 2020
Deposited01 Oct 2020
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