A trial mentoring programme at Dunstan High School will hopefully be expanded next year, those behind the initiative say.

The programme has given a group of year 13 pupils additional support from their tutor teachers, establishing goals at the beginning of the year and then having regular mentoring sessions throughout the year.

About 40 pupils from the school’s high performance programme – which is comprised of pupils from all walks of life – have done the trial programme this year.

Pupils and staff feedback had been overwhelmingly positive and the programme would hopefully continue and be rolled out to more pupils next year, assistant principal Alan Hamilton and head of science Natasha Hitchman, who have led the programme, said.

Initially it was hoped all year 13 pupils could do the programme, but other year groups would also be lookedat for it, they said.

Pupils who were mentored this year said the goal setting at the beginning of the year was a vital part of the programme.

“It was something specific to keep going back to,” Will Nelson said. “Sometimes you might have an idea of your goals, but when you have it in writing it brings it to life.”

The pupils appreciated the time teachers had put into the programme.

“The mentors have taken time out of their lives to sit down and talk to us about what’s going to work and what you need to improve and how you’re going to do that,” Bridget Airey said.

All sorts of goals had been covered in the programme, Emily Bennett said. These could be academic, sporting, cultural or personal goals.

Pupil Andre Schaap also said the “triangle” of combined pupil/teacher/parent involvement in the programme had been a valuable part of the mentoring.

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