An Exploration of Mentors’ and Teachers’ Experiences of Peer Mentoring during the Transition from Primary to Secondary School

Prof Doc Thesis

Allgood May, R. 2021. An Exploration of Mentors’ and Teachers’ Experiences of Peer Mentoring during the Transition from Primary to Secondary School. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsAllgood May, R.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Multiple studies have found the transition from primary to secondary school can be distressing for students. This study explored the experiences of mentors and teachers who delivered a peer mentoring for school transition programme with the aim of reducing distress. The project tasked Year 7 students with mentoring Year 6 students, who were identified as ‘vulnerable’ and were receiving an alternative provision nurture programme, before and after starting their secondary school to support mentees through the transition.

A critical realist epistemological approach was taken to explore five mentors’ and five teachers’ experiences of the programme through semi-structured interviews. Interview schedules were developed in collaboration with a young person consultant who had mentoring experience. Thematic analysis of the transcripts led to the development of themes. Mentors discussed the need for confident, responsible and mature mentors who wanted to help mentees. They described using their skills to share experience and build trust. And with the time and support needed, this led to mentors developing transferrable skills and mentees settling in and developing a more positive relationship to help. Teachers explored the need for collaboration and engagement with the programme provider, a suitable environment and support for mentors. They highlighted the importance of shared experience within the mentoring relationship and trust within the programme system. They believed outcomes included transferrable skills for mentors and extra support and positive behaviour change for mentees.

These findings provide support for the use of peer mentoring programmes as a form of support for young people which can reduce transition distress and promote peer- and school-connectedness. This prevention and early intervention approach provides accessible and normalising support, at a time when one-to-one professional support is increasingly difficult to access.

PublisherUniversity of East London
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Publication dates
Online02 Nov 2021
Publication process dates
Submitted03 Aug 2021
Deposited03 Nov 2021
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License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
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