Formal mentoring programs require a clear purpose and structure to meet the identified needs of students. Types of mentoring arrangements and key considerations for developing a formal mentoring program can be found on this page.
Developing a formal student mentoring program
Planning a formal student mentoring program should clearly identify the students, the mentoring arrangement and the program's focus.
Different mentoring arrangements can help shape the mentor and student relationship and are informed by the purpose of the mentoring program. Mentors can be members of the community, teachers or students.
Mentoring arrangements can include:
Individual mentoring sessions involve one mentor and one student. They enable mentoring to be personalised for the individual student.
Peer mentoring involves students at the same or similar level. It supports shared communication, mutual learning and a sense of community and belonging.
Group mentoring involves one mentor working alongside a small group of students to achieve a common purpose. This encourages mentees to work collaboratively and support each other.
E-mentoring uses technology to connect mentors and students. This can overcome barriers of location and time. E-mentoring can be achieved through online programs and can be supervised remotely.
Key considerations for developing a program
Student needs inform mentoring objectives. This can include students:
- developing confidence and communication skills
- strengthening their ability to process, analyse, solve and overcome obstacles
- setting short and long term goals
- building and sustaining positive relationships.
For program continuity, schools could have two coordinators or a wellbeing committee to oversee and manage the delivery. The role will involve:
- liaising with mentors, students and parents
- applying relevant Department policies
- implementing each stage of the mentoring program.
Adequate time to fulfil the responsibilities of the coordination role should be provided.
Stages of a mentoring program
Every mentoring program has three stages. Planning for student and mentor needs must considered in each stage.
Timeframe of mentoring program
Mentoring sessions are usually run once a week or fortnight and should fit into a school’s regular timetable. The program length can range from three months to several years depending on the program’s objective and the mentor’s availability.
Prior to a mentoring program commencing schools need to communicate the following information to parents, students and mentors:
- aims and purpose
- the types of meeting and activities
- start and conclusion of overall program
- time and frequency of sessions.
Location and supervision
The mentoring arrangement will inform the location and type of supervision required. The location for mentoring sessions should offer some privacy as well as visibility for supervision. Schools are encouraged to arrange a suitable, comfortable and safe space for mentors and students to meet e.g. library or school hall.
E-mentoring requires the mentor and student to log into a secure online environment where they can converse under the supervision of a moderator, usually the school mentoring program's coordinator.
Schools are encouraged to use data to identify student mentees. Data can include surveys, academic reports, attendance and student engagement in school activities.
A student mentee induction program is a powerful approach to prepare students for the mentoring program and encourage their participation in the program.
Mentors can be community members, school staff or students and should be provided with ongoing support throughout the program. Access resources supporting mentors.
Written parental consent must be obtained before students participate in the mentoring program. Parents retain the right to withdraw their child from the mentoring arrangement.