Published by: Third Force News
Written By: Gavin Stuart
A charity mentoring programme is dramatically transforming educational outcomes for Scotland’s most disadvantaged young people, research has shown.
Results of a three-year study revealed an average 25.3% increase in the number of care-experienced young people progressing to university, college or a job following mentorship by MCR Pathways.
The programme saw 81.6% of young people going into further education, higher education or employment, compared with 56.3% of those with similar backgrounds who had not been mentored.
Seven in ten young people who went through the programme stayed in school after the age of 16, compared to six in ten non-mentored care-experienced young people, and 87.8% achieved at least one SCQF Level 5 qualification.
MCR Pathways works with some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged young people, with 77% living in the country’s most deprived postcode areas. Almost 10% do not have English as a first language, and all have experience of the care system.
Iain MacRitchie, MCR Pathways founder, said: “We are inspired and humbled by the findings, which prove the profound impact of relationship-based mentoring on education outcomes and life-chances of our young people. Our young people who experience the greatest disadvantages need and deserve the best we have to offer and simply flourish with the support of a mentor.
“In addition to the education outcomes, the report also underlines additional major benefits in improved school attendance, confidence, aspirations and the key components of good mental health and well-being. Our government has set well-being as a key measure of our social and economic success. Ensuring every one of our care-experienced young people become part of the MCR programme is a way to deliver this.
“We have been told by international experts that the MCR programme and its impact is world-leading. Giving all our young people the right to the support they need, will ensure we transform not just the next generation but those that follow. As a mentor with first-hand experience, I simply ask that MCR is made a permanent feature of our education system.”
The study’s results have been published a week before the Independent Care Review will present recommendations to improve the prospects and wellbeing of young people in care.
Fiona Duncan, chair of the review, said: “The Care Review heard from children and young people about the positive impact that mentoring had had on them. They talked about having someone who spent time with them developing a relationship, listening and supporting them to make choices.
“In particular, when mentoring takes place is in schools, there is evidence that it can improve educational attainment, reduce stigma and encourage those that may not have considered it to take up a mentoring relationship.”