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Pupil Premium and Learning Mentors

PGCiPP: National Award for Special Educational Needs Coordination

Do children who are eligible for pupil premium funding have a more positive learning experience as a result of 

engaging with a learning mentors programme?


Pupils Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs are perhaps more at the forefront of the news stories now than they ever have been before. With support services reported as being in crisis and schools unable to find adequate funding for bespoke interventions for these identified students, the emphasis on using what you’ve got to ensure these pupils continue to make sufficient progress is paramount. ‘Substantial evidence’ shows that children growing up in economically disadvantaged environments is linked to poorer Social, Emotional and Behavioural outcomes for children (Treanor, 2012).

Part of my role as Inclusion Manager is to directly work with children eligible for pupil premium. Whilst working in another school local to mine, I came across the Learning Mentor Programme which had been set up by the Education Charity: Achievement for All schools programme. Their mission is to ‘transform the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged children, young people and their families by raising educational aspirations, access and achievement.’ (www. Involving children who were recognised as ‘pupil premium’ children with their learning goals, appealed to me personally, and professionally.

The SEN Code of Practice is definite in its ‘clearer focus for the participation of children … in decision-making’, (DfE, 2015) and this remained a clear focus for shaping my research into Learning Mentors. Learning Mentors can be perfectly placed in facilitating this involvement of pupils in the setting of their targets/outcomes and being involved in weekly conversations surrounding the progress of these targets.

Rationale and Context

The school I work in is a fairly affluent mainstream primary one form entry school in the middle of a small town. There are currently 23 out of 200 children who receive the pupil premium grant, this is within the 4th quintile nationally and reflects the area the school is situated in. However, this percentage has been increasing gradually over the past few years and so it is something we need to be aware of. (school’s dashboard data, online).

A percentage of my role as Inclusion Manager has been designed to focus on children who have been identified as vulnerable learners due to poorer home environments, i.e. pupil premium allocated children. I have not yet been in the role a whole year, and it has more time allocated to it than my predecessor, for the very reason of working with Pupil Premium groups. It is something which I have been aware of but not yet tackled fully. This research assignment has given me that reason. In Burton and Bartlett, Altricher et al (1993) it suggests that action research starts from practical questions that fit in with the working conditions of the teachers. My current role does not have any class responsibility attached to it, so my objective was to set about designing research which would fit in with the everyday classroom management and be sensitive to the existing workload of the staff it would involve.

I decided to conduct a small scale action research project to trial a Learning Mentors intervention. Action research is a term coined by Kurt Lewin (1944). It involves research with – rather than ‘on’ – others (cited in Safford, 2014). The SEN Code of Practice advocates the full involvement of young people being involved in decision making around their needs. I had seen a Learning Mentor programme in progress at another local school (‘M’), and researched with another local SENCo in her school (‘H) prior to setting up the action research in my own school. At ‘M’ school, they had only just started the programme and I was involved with some conversations with the TA’s who had become Learning Mentors, discussing their weekly conversations with their children. This was helpful as it gave me an idea of potential pitfalls but also what successes might come from the scheme. In school ‘H’, they had been running it for a number of years and had recently been shortlisted for the Pupil Premium Champion Awards. The SENCo there was very helpful and gave me an outline of the structure and the paperwork needed for a Learning Mentor programme.

My school had not historically brought into the Achievement for All programme so I relied on the information from school ‘H’ and school ‘M’, conducted some further online research, and as a result I felt I had a good understanding of this intervention and was keen to try the concept out for myself.

I had originally decided to aim this research at all of the school’s pupil premium children, but feedback after my initial presentation to my tutors revealed that I needed to scale down my small scale research! The ambition remained the same though – I wanted to discover whether children who were eligible for pupil premium funding had a more positive learning experience as a result of engaging within a learning mentor programme. In order to answer the research question I need to address not only pupil experiences of working with the learning mentor but also class teachers’ perspectives, and the TA who will be the Learning Mentor in this research, in order to get a full picture of what value the intervention holds to pupils.

 When thinking about whether the experience would be a ‘positive’ one for the children involved, Safford believes that when researching children’s perspectives, not only is it both a ‘rewarding and an interesting thing for adults to do’. It is also ‘vital in ensuring children’s voices are heard, especially with respect to their schooling’. (Safford, 2014).

Literature Review

Studies such as Treanor’s, which state that effective social and emotional competencies are ‘associated with greater health and wellbeing, and better achievement’ is an example of research which perhaps drove government policy to such an extent that in a 2010 – 2015 Policy Paper, the coalition government stated that they wanted to ‘raise levels of achievement for all disadvantaged pupils…’ (DfE, 2010) Designed to ‘address inequality’ by giving schools the ‘resources’ to respond with ‘freedom’ and ‘appropriately to individual circumstances’; pupil premium money was ring-fenced into schools. (DfE, 2011)

Some research goes on to highlight that the SEMH development of children living in economically deprived families also has its effects mediated by maternal characteristics such as mother’s mental health, mother’s self-esteem and the quality of the parent child relationship (Stirling, 2012). A focus on the parents education as being significant in how children achieve within school is also prominent. Very recent Government documentation agrees that the role that schools play in promoting the resilience of their pupils is important, particularly so for some children where their home life is less supportive’ (DfE, 2016) which eludes to more general circumstances than just financial. Pupil premium uses economic factors only as eligibility criteria for the funding (and presumably this finance is the ‘resource’ providing the ‘freedom’ to schools). However, there are children in schools who have poor parental support, but do not meet the financial criteria, and I would deem them as vulnerable learners as well needing these ‘resources’ for their social and emotional development.

‘The biggest problem for researchers into mentoring is still defining what it is’ (Clutterbuck, 1996, p.9 cited in Hall, 2003). The Education Endowment Fund states that mentoring specifically is ‘characterised as aiming to build confidence, or to develop resilience and character… ’. (EEF, 2015) Claridge says that a learning mentor is ‘an individual who will spend time assisting those children who are under achieving at their school work’ (Claridge, 2015) so both areas of my research journey are alluded to in this thoughts – the social and emotional wellbeing of a child and the academic progress which is embedded in their targets. However, all areas of research have the commonality that learning mentors are recognised as a relatively new concept in the field of education, but that their most essential skill is one of building relationships in order to encourage and motivate. ‘Only when people feel confident and positive about themselves can they begin to fulfil their potential’. (Wragg, T p. 9 in Burrell and Riley, 1993).

Our school follows Professor Guy Claxton’s Building Learning Power strategies, which encourages children to develop resilience and reciprocity and encourages a growth mindset, as Carol Dweck commentates; ‘having children focus on the process that leads to learning (like hard work or trying new strategies) could foster a growth mindset and its benefits’ (Dweck, 2015, p.3).

So often adults decide what is best for children and make decisions on their behalf. It should also be remembered that children have unique rights, opinions and perspectives and therefore need to be heard. The Every Child Matters agenda which came into place at the beginning of 2004 encompassed this belief. This piece of legislation was then underpinned by the Children’s Act of 2004. Having read much of both of these documents, both at the time of practicing and now with my research in mind, they present, and their aims are, very much outcomes based. There is a lot of phrasing about families and services supporting children, but only one direct phrase from Portsmouth City Council as an example of children being wholly involved with this support and ‘having the right to an active say in their development’ (ECM, 2004). The word active is key here as it ensures that the children are consulted and involved in discussions, as further highlighted in the most recent SEN Code of Practice where ‘there is a clearer focus on the participation of children’ (DfE, 2015, p.14). In addition to this, more current government advice states that pupils and their families participate ‘as fully as possible in decisions …  and the views, wishes and feelings of the pupil … always be(ing) considered. (DfE, 2016).


To easily identify a working group of children to participate in the small scale research, it made sense to focus on the pupil premium cohorts as this was a group already classified within school, and saved me having to go through a choosing process using larger tools such as the Boxhall profile or Thrive screener. T Year 5 class in my school has the highest percentage of pupil premium children so I choose them as the focus group for the research. As the new TA was getting the know the children in the class, it made sense for her to carry out the Learning Mentor role as she would be in the best position to carry out any informal discussions or ‘check ins’ with them throughout the week. Safford believes that TA’s often come across ‘opportunities to mediate or advocate which can play a critical role’ within the classroom. In addition to this, Safford goes on to say that ‘small scale enquiry … offers opportunities for TA’s … to explore their unique roles and relationships with children’ (Safford, 2014, p. 2).

I sought permission from all stakeholders – staff, children and parents. I called the parents of the eight children and followed it up with a permission slip to sign and return (Appendix 1). When a child is not legally competent, researchers should gain ‘informed assent’. (UNICEF p.5 (2002) quoted in Greig, Taylor, & MacKay, 2004). In its guidance on child participation it also makes clear that parental consent is ‘not an adequate standard in light of the rights of the child’. The ‘assent’ of child in addition to informed parental consent is informed consent.

Therefore, to gain this assent from children, I had a similar interaction with the selected group of children, and they too signed a consent form (Appendix 2). My head teacher was also happy to consent to the research being conducted in school (Appendix 3). I felt everyone involved in the research had been fully informed and were also told that they would be fully debriefed as a result.

Once the group, the permissions and the outline had been organised, we had the initial meeting with each child which is designed to glean information about each child – their likes and dislikes, friendships, interests and then talk about some targets they would like to set themselves (Appendix 4). The class had recently been involved in conducting their own parent consultation meetings where they spoke about their academic targets. This was a perfect springboard from which to form smaller targets to look at within the learning mentor research. Some of the children’s targets were quite general, e.g. ‘To learn my times tables’. From my work at school ‘M’, I knew that these objectives needed to be much more specific so that targeted conversations could be had each week. Targets did not need to be based on academic threads, and some may be around social situations or emotional gaps the children want to address.

The learning mentor TA was then asked to see the children individually for five minutes each, per week. They would look at the targets written and see how these could be worked on – any strategies which could be tried, or other resources which could be employed to help. Week on week the students would return to the learning mentor and discuss any successes or challenges which were being faced.  

At the end of the six week programme, I step back in and hold conversations with the teachers, TA and children in relation to their thoughts on the Learning Mentor programme, and how their thoughts and feelings may influence further adaptation, development and/or continuation of this programme. Results will be formulated from these conversations, and summarised into a table format. The summary will be mainly comprised from observational and interview notes taken throughout and within the impact statements taken at the end of the research. Walter Humes (2001) in Safford (2014) states that enquiries need to take place in active, unpredictable places (schools and classrooms) and rely chiefly on observational and behavioural data, particularly language data.           

Results and Analysis

The research started positively. And although the TA a little anxious, she was keen to be asking the ‘right’ questions, I reassured her that her already forming relationship with them as their class TA was all that was needed in this instance.

Each week I would ask how the meetings were going and increasingly she found that there was not enough time available to conduct separate meetings with each child. The teachers felt they were not able to prioritise her time out of class with these children, above the usual class TA role. We discussed at what points during the day it would be convenient to see the children. I could see that the TA felt she was in a difficult position – her time between what I had asked her to do, and what the class teachers were expecting of her. Time pressures continued and in the last couple of meetings, the children came out in small groups. The TA was finding and giving resources to the children, and looking through examples of their work with them, some of children were responding by practicing their targets and giving small pieces of evidence to her when they felt pleased and proud of their achievements.

One week of the research was annulled due to a BikeAbility scheme the whole class took part in and unfortunately, in the last week of the research, the TA took sudden compassionate leave.

Burton and Bartlett (2004) explain that more ‘naturalistic’ forms of data collection, ‘make use of individual accounts’ aiming for ‘detail and understanding rather than statistical representativeness’. (Burton & Bartlett, 2004, p.22) This type of data collection would suit with my analysis of this research and I will explain my findings in this section.

4.1 Children’s Impact Statements – their views on the research

When talking to the children after the six week period of research had finished, I composed a few simple questions to be able to give approximate comparisons of answers within their thoughts. (Appendix 5). I had in mind considerations from the LEAP training pack designed by Leeds University when talking with the children; The quality and nature of questioning, listening skills, body language, and the setting and atmosphere are all important. (University of Leeds, 1991, in Safford 2013). When deciding how to record their answers, it was also important for me to weigh up what effect writing their thoughts down as they were talking would have on the flow of the discussion; the positives (instant feedback, ability to check accuracy, and no further work later) outweighed the negatives (a more stilted, less flowing pace, ability to multitask with listening and writing, and no exact quotes able to be captured). Using this method, I was able to clarify ideas for them, prompt their thoughts and hopefully enable them to feel comfortable with thinking time naturally inbuilt.

All the while considering that the ease with which data can be analysed is very much dependent upon how effectively they have been recorded. (Burton and Barlett, 2004).




4.1.1 – Table of Results – Summary of conversations with children, post intervention

Children’s names have been anonymised



Question 1

Did you understand what the Learning Mentor sessions were?



Question 2

What did you talk about?

Question 3

On a scale of 1-5 how helpful did you find the sessions? (1 being not at all, and 5 being really helpful)



Question 4



Question 5

Can you think of one positive aspect of the sessions?


Question 6

Can you think of one negative / not so god aspect of the session?


Question 7

Would you continue with them?


Question 8

Would you make any changes?



Any other comments?

Child D

To help is with what we struggle with. Mine was 9 and 12 times table and handwriting

Spoke about targets. Mrs L gave us sheets to practice, and you can practice in your time during reading at school.


It’s helpful but when you’re sitting there and you’ve finished you should be able to go and you have to wait to talk.

Looking at targets sort of helped and I’ve been practising my times tables.

Doing it in groups.


Send out more sheets to help with targets so I can practice at home and at school.


Child Li

Mrs L has been seeing us and asking us questions about my learning. Helping me with things to improve.

Times tables and spelling


They helped me but I still need more practice.

I know it’s supposed to be about learning (which can be boring) but it was fun and it helped me



Would have them more often.

I didn’t mind missing other lessons to come and see Mrs L

Child N

(Needed prompting which led to answering Qu 2)

Who my friends are, who you learn best with, what you need to improve, what you’re good at. Trying to improve my targets which are handwriting and punctuation.


It has been very helpful but I haven’t managed to do those things. The advice given was helpful and Mrs L gave me a sheet to practice but I haven’t done that yet.

Mrs L trying to help me improve.

That I didn’t get around to doing my targets.



I like missing class time

Child E

Mrs L, A and I did it together and stayed in most mornings. Mrs L printed off sheets to help me learn my times tables.

Talked about whether it’s helping with targets. Sort of finished my handwriting target then moved on to spelling.


Liked the resources and I achieved my target.

Being able to do it with my friend.

Practising in the library –some teachers asked why we were in there.

Yes – can we do it in Year 6?

Have new resources

In order to get my targets achieved I needed to stay in and practice, but I liked doing that with my friend.

Child A

The meeting with Mrs L.

My learning targets – 8 times table and spellings. Mrs L went on her computer and printed sheets off. I haven’t finished them, sometimes I forget.


Sometimes I get distracted with the others when we had to go in groups. I liked staying in to practice the targets.

The worksheets which I could take home.

Going with other people.




Child H

Seeing Mrs L, talking about who our friends are, what targets we have. Mine were times table and one I can’t remember.

How can I learn my times tables and I think spelling was my other one. Mrs L by playing games she knew.


Because the games helped me.




To do it a bit more, normally it was just Wednesday

Sometimes I can practice at break.

Child Le

In a group

Once we talked about dictation and me and J did dictation but I haven’t practiced.


Because normally in class I rush but Mrs L said she’d help me to slow down





I didn’t mind meeting in a group or missing things.

Child C

Learning how to spell new words and getting faster at running.

How we can improve on these things, Mrs L taught me how to break down words


My spelling is gradually getting better so I think I’m getting better. Running isn’t going so well, I need to find a stopwatch

Good – she trusted me!

Annoyed about extra homework and missing reading sessions because I already come out for Nessy.


To do it at a different time of the day

I get a lot of support at home


 ‘Codifying the data’ is the researcher is looking for patterns that emerge through the interviews and any particular points of commonality or difference that need to be discussed... (Burton and Bartlett, 2004, p.116).

I found the children to be very insightful about what had worked well for them, and what perhaps hadn’t. I needed to explain some of the wording in the questions – ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ and sometimes the concept of changing something which had already happened, but could happen again.

The results show that all of the children would carry on with the scheme, but as they identified, timings and groupings were an issue. This was also identified in the teacher and the learning mentor’s reflections. The learning mentor scheme is designed to be able to allow children one to one time to discuss their learning and Meadows and Fraser shows that ‘working individually was positive’ for children with a learning mentor, or teaching assistant. (Meadows and Fraser in Safford, 2013). However, some of the children preferred working within a group, mainly due to friendship alliances, and possible the feeling of empowerment within secure friendships.

The details of why the children had found it a helpful process were perhaps not as expanded as one might have wanted in order to fully explain a positive outcome to this study. However, there were no hesitations from the group when it came to scoring the question highly, and this was backed up further by all answering affirmatively to whether they would continue with the programme.

4.2 – Teacher’s Impact Statements – their views on the research

From the beginning I felt some resistance to their engagement in this piece of work, and it was merely the fact that they have the highest proportion of pupil premium children in their class which led me to work with them on this occasion. Nevertheless, it was a matter of continuing and focusing on trying to support the Learning Mentor throughout the research with the children.

One of the teachers commented ‘I don't feel at all informed enough to be able to assess impact as I have had very little to do with the project’.  She went on to say ‘I know that a few have spelling and times tables as targets, but beyond that I do not know any precise details of the children's individual targets’. This is significant in assessing how this research may have impacted upon the children’s resilience and learning within the classroom, as she feels that she cannot comment upon it due to lack of initial input from me. This has highlighted that I perhaps need to improve the ‘collaboration’ part of my SENCo role, as identified in Kearns (2005). Additionally, these comments highlight that the teacher/TA feedback is perhaps not as adequate as it could be, or further underlines the distance this project had from the teacher’s responsibility towards the usual class TA role.

The other teacher had more positive comments to pass on with regard to the impact in the classroom. She believed that ‘for a few of the children (Child E, Child A, Child D and Child N) I have observed a genuine motivation to engage with the project and work hard to meet their targets (e.g. using their own time at playtime, at home etc) to work on them and they have been proud of their achievements.’. For these children, this observation, along with their own comments, reveals to me that this research proves the learning mentor scheme was certainly a positive strand in their learning achievement.

4.3 – Teaching Assistant as Learning Mentor – her views on the research

Mrs L, as she is known here, went into the research with mainly positive thoughts, but an apprehension around whether the quality of her interactions would be what I wanted. The responses of the children proved that she was able to fulfil a lot more than completing a task which has been asked from her. She was able to scaffold and to ensure the student was interested in the task … ‘by providing motivation, encouraging them to take risks and carefully managing any frustration they may experience’. (Bosanquet, Radford, Webster, p.73 2001).

In her impact statement, Mrs L corroborated the thoughts of the teachers, and myself by stating, that ‘fitting this extra (intervention) in has proved to be quite difficult, as the class teachers were keen to make sure that these other interventions were not missed at the expense of this learning mentor intervention’. Her own personal irritations in relation to her professional expectations are also articulated: I found myself getting very frustrated at times because I could not achieve what I set out to do, with the various constraints, and do feel that I have let some of the children down somewhat by not completing what we set out to do.  She puts these thoughts diplomatically, and I realise that research has had to be fitted in to usual life within the school and that perhaps the class teachers didn’t have as much investment in it as myself, or the same expectations as the TA. However, validating information through this process of triangulation is significant for personal understanding and potential developments in practice (Safford, 2013). And the theme of engagement of staff, and time pressures are two main areas which will need careful attention in my role going forward.

On a more positive note, Mrs L also articulates that she enjoyed seeing the children ‘showing a sense of pride and achievement, which is really valuable and important’ and is at the heart of research into achievement academic progress, also linking back to their personal and emotional development.

I, as the researcher, have attempted to portray the participants’ perceptions and understandings of the particular situation or event, as highlighted by Woods in Bartlett and Burton (1999). As recent government policy sets out, and the work of Stirling University explored, children need to feel involved with their decisions about their learning. Asking them to explain how this research had felt for them, and also what they would like to change if it were to happen again, I believe is a powerful tool in designing any next steps which may take place. Particularly as they responded positively.




When starting the background thinking to the research I was aiming to see if we could develop children’s emotional and social resilience and development through talking to and with a learning mentor, on the back of Paone, Lepkowski’s and William’s research in 2007 which discovered that the ‘…importance of school counsellors addressing the personal and social development of students, as well as the academic development, to ultimately help them succeed…’ (Paone, Lepkowski, & William, p.132, 2007). However, when the children decided upon their targets, they were mostly all academic based objectives and therefore the aim needed to change slightly to see that if working on these gave them a more positive classroom experience. It was important that the children had ownership of the targets, and thus supporting the sociocultural view: ‘in order for the learning to be effective, the children need to be engaged in activities that are personally meaningful to them’ (Traianou, 2012). ‘Targets’ and ‘objectives’ appear to be so embedded from a child’s perspective, rather than their social and emotional development that if we felt a child needed to build resilience within attempts at socialisation, for example, I think this idea may need to be scaffolded for the child and targets within this heavily prompted in order that they see it as something to try and achieve.

 I started the research reading about the role of the Learning Mentor as one of provide support and guidance to children and young people to help them overcome social, emotional and behavioural problems which act as barriers to learning. A lot of salaried positions advertising for Learning Mentors state exactly that. However having seen the reality of involving children setting targets, the Learning Mentor role could now be seen as one of bridging both academic and pastoral support roles, ensuring that individual pupils gain more support, encouragement and guidance to be able to independently achieve positive outcomes. (The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, 2014).

Having a more ‘hands-off’ approach meant I had no control over when the children would participate, nor the actual quality or quantity of interactions. This was frustrating as I had a clear vision of how it could/should work. It has led me to some critical thinking about relationships between myself and other staff in my role as Inclusion Manager, how could I have enlisted more interest and/or prioritisation for this piece of short term research from the teachers? How could I have communicated the research vision more distinctly? Would this have helped professional uptake and embedment of my objective? These questions could lead to an impasse!





I have found this process professionally enlightening. I was excited to conduct research around an area of education which I have long held curiosities around.

As a result of the insight this research has given me on both children’s metacognition and school pedagogy I feel that it may be time to operate a more specific counselling type of intervention for some of our more vulnerable children (and not necessarily those eligible for pupil premium for the reasons stated previously). Whilst involving children in working through their academic targets has proved to be a positive experience for the children, the cost of adult time and pressure on releasing already busy staff to conduct the Learning Mentor scheme effectively (i.e. every week, one to one with numerous children) may not be a feasible project for the next academic year. However, it has ensured an awareness amongst both the children involved and the staff that talking to children regularly about their aims and targets within their learning is something that benefits the children’s engagement and understanding of what they need to achieve. This, therefore, can only be reported as a positive and valuable experience which hopefully will spread as good practice throughout all classrooms.

Having such positive reports from the children has offset the frustrations felt though, and it was encouraging to hear that they would all want to continue with this type of intervention, despite its rather minimal appearance.

An additional thought is that children within the Early Years Curriculum are assessed and scored upon their personal, social and emotional outcomes, in fact it’s one of the three ‘Prime Areas’ it’s so important. If they don’t show all of these skills, they are rated as not gaining a ‘good level of development’. (DfE, 2014). However, as soon as they enter Key Stage One and beyond, these SEMH targets are no longer assessed and a child is judged purely on their academic ability. This feels to me as a stark undervaluing of those skills actually needing to be in place before academic learning can progress. This perhaps is another strand of research for me to pursue at another point in my school career.

It has been proved here that engaging with children on a one to one basis has been a positive experience for those children, and supporting children’s mental health and well-being within this is now my focus for the years to come, especially now as we are working within a challenging curriculum and with ever increasing government and social pressures placed upon both children and the staff working with them.



Dweck, N (2015) Growth Mindset, Revisited, Education Week Online, available at: (accessed 10th June, 2016)

Clutterbuck, D., Devine, M., & Beech, H. (1991). Everyone needs a mentor: fostering talent at work. Institute of Personnel Management.

Berg, B, (2004) Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences, Long Beach California State University Publishers

Burton, D and Bartlett, S (2004) Practitioner Research for Teachers, Sage Publications Ltd

Learning in groups

Cheminais, R (2010) Handbook for New Sencos, Sage Publications

Dora, N, O’Reilly, M, Ronzoni, P, (2013) Researching with Children Theory and Practice, London: Sage Publications Ltd,

Grant, J (2002) Achievement for All: Working with children with Special Edcational Needs in Mainstream Schools and Colleges, ATL Publishers: London

Jaques,D, Salmon, G (2006) Learning in Groups, Routledge Ltd: London

Paone, C, Tina, R, Lepkowski, WJ, (2007) No Childhood Left Behind; Advocating for the Personal and Social Development of Children, Journal of School Counseling, v5 n25,

Safford, K, Stacey, M and Hancock, R (2013) Small-scale Research in Primary School, Routledge Ltd: London

Treanor, M, (2012) Impacts of poverty on children and young people – briefing – Scottish Childcare and Protection Network, Univeristy of Stirling: Scotland (School data omitted to anonymise) (accessed 2nd May 2016)

www. ‘And Introduction to Achievement for All’ (accessed 29th May 2016)

Department for Education, Education of Disadvantaged Children (2010) Available at: (accessed 31st May 2016)

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Appendix One – Parents’ Consent Form

Dear Mrs B,

Further to our telephone conversation this morning, I am writing to seek permission for C to be included in my research project around the impact of Learning Mentors. As discussed, this will involve C setting some small targets with the class teaching assistant, Mrs. L, and then having a weekly conversation with her in order to check in with his progress within these targets. C will be supported and encouraged to approach and think about tasks and strategies which may help him achieve these targets. He can seek advice and guidance from Mrs. L. The Learning Mentor conversations would take place with minimal disruption to class learning.

The research will take place over seven weeks – the period after the Easter holidays until the May half term. In the final week C will be asked for his opinion as to what impact the targets and subsequent weekly meetings, has had for his learning and achievement within school.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any queries regarding this intervention.

Many thanks,


Helen Punter-Bruce

Inclusion Manager


I do / do not* give permission for my Year 5 child to be part of a Learning Mentor research study.

I have had the research explained to me and understand I will be debriefed after it has concluded.

*Delete as applicable


Signed _________________________  Date: ___________________








Appendix Two – Children’s Consent

Mrs Punter-Bruce has spoken to me about a Learning Mentors Intervention which I have been selected to try.

I understand that his is to help me focus on some small targets for areas which I would like to improve in, for example some Maths work, handwriting, friendships, remembering things for lessons.

I know that I will be with Mrs. L to think about these targets and then see her every week to talk about any progress or problems I might be having with them and that she will help me with these targets.

I know that this will take all of Term 5 to do and that I will be asked how I felt about the Learning Mentors intervention once it has finished, and give my opinion about if it has affected my learning, and how.

My parents have been asked to give permission and I am signing my name below to say that I am happy to be part of this research.


Signed ____________________       Date _____________














Appendix Three – Headteacher’s Consent



























Appendix Four – Weekly Impact Sheets






















Appendix Five - Prompt Questions for Children’s Impact Statements

Prompt Questions for Impact Statement Reviews – children

Did you understand what the Learning Mentor Sessions were?




What did you talk about?



On a scale of 1-5 how helpful did you find the sessions? (1 being not at all, and 5 being really helpful)




Can you think of one positive aspect of the session?


Can you think of one negative/not so good aspect of the session?


Would you continue with them?


Make any changes?


Any other comments made…