Who are MCR Pathways?
MCR Pathways is a school-based mentoring programme. We support those in or on the edges of the care system to realise their full potential through education. We recruit, train and match volunteer mentors with a young people. The charity was founded by Iain MacRitchie, a social entrepreneur, who identified a need to support disadvantaged young people in Glasgow.
Our journey began in St Andrew’s Secondary, an East End Glasgow school, where we developed the programme over 5 years. The evidence was soon overwhelming that MCR mentoring made a huge difference on young people’s confidence and engagement with school. We have since expanded across all Glasgow secondaries and are now expanding into new Local Authorities across Scotland. Our vision is that every care-experienced and disadvantaged young person in Scotland gets the same education outcomes, career opportunities and life chances as every other young person.
How Do We Help?
MCR Pathways supports young people in the school environment. Each school has a full-time Pathways Coordinator who works directly with identified young people. We help these pupils re-engage and then transition from school to Higher Education, Further Education, or employment. The programme includes three main elements:
Each young person is matched with their own mentor from S3 stage onwards. Pupils meet with their mentor once a week for 50 minutes and receive guidance and support. Mentors build a relationship, helping their young person to develop confidence and self-esteem. We ask our mentors for a commitment of at least one year.
S1 and S2 pupils work with their Pathways Coordinator and participate in weekly group work sessions. These are focused on building confidence and life skills, and also improving Literacy and Numeracy levels. This allows the Coordinator to build trust and an individual relationship with each young person, preparing them for mentoring.
Talent Tasters are a chance for young people to try out work, further and higher education and cultural experiences through manageable, bite-sized sessions. They are designed to engage and inspire S3-S6 pupils with hands-on learning opportunities. They provide more options for young people to find their talents and focus on the pathways to achieve their ambition.
Who Do We Support?
We know that there is amazing talent in our young people, however care-experienced pupils often struggle to engage with school because of instability in their personal lives. They may not have positive adult role models to look up to and they lack access to social networks that can introduce them to the workplace.
In 2013/2014, prior to the introduction of mentoring, only 22% of Scottish care-experienced young people stayed on in school after age 16. International research shows that the longer young people stay at school past the statutory leaving age the better their longer-term outcomes. And the evidence is substantiated – prior to the introduction of mentoring, fewer than half of our care-experienced young people progressed to full-time employment, college or university, now 86% of our mentored young people do. By connecting each young person with a mentor, we can give pupils the support they need to succeed. We now actively support more than 1545 young people.
What Is The Future For Us, Our Mentors and Our Young People?
The MCR Mentoring Programme is now in all Glasgow secondary schools. In 2018, we began our expansion into new Local Authorities across Scotland. New areas continue to come on board. Over the next two years we are planning on expanding into a further 5 local authorities, allowing us to support over 2,000 young people in our most challenged areas. We have a national ambition to bring mentoring to all Scottish care-experienced and disadvantaged young people, providing mentors to more than 5000 pupils. Please watch our News page for the latest information
In 2018 we established a National Advisory Group which includes some of Scotland’s most experienced leaders in business, the public sector, education and third sector. The Advisory Group will support the MCR Pathways’ national expansion and help fully embed the MCR model within the Scottish education system.
MCR is a long term, not one off, project and aims to become “business as usual” across the country. The founders objective is to be forgotten in 10 years time as this will be the norm as to how young people will be supported in school.
Our vision is that disadvantaged young people has the same educational outcomes, career opportunities and life chances as any other young person.