Published by The Herald
Written by Jody Harrison
Mentoring for vulnerable children who have experience of the care system is to become a permanent feature in schools in Scotland’s largest city.
An independent review of a scheme run by the charity MCR Pathways in Glasgow secondary schools during the past three years found that it had a “significant” positive impact on children and young people who receive it.
The project pairs young people up with a life coach from outside the education system who can pass on advice and prepare them for life after school.
The review, carried out by social researchers ScotCen said that mentoring had helped pupils improve their grades and had increased in the number going on to university, college or into employment by more than a quarter.
MCR Pathways currently provides mentors to more than 2,300 young people across Scotland and operates in secondary schools in Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen, Clackmannanshire, Edinburgh, North Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Shetland and West Dunbartonshire as well as Glasgow.
Maureen McKenna, Executive Director of Education, Glasgow City Council said: “This programme works because we have embedded it within our core business and complements the work of our teacher and school staff – nurturing and empowering our most vulnerable young people to believe in themselves regardless of their circumstances.”
Annemarie O’Donnell, Chief Executive of Glasgow City Council, said: “To me, as corporate parent to every vulnerable child and young person in our city, the only thing that matters is that we do everything in our collective power to nurture, support and create opportunities that will help them flourish.
“The research is clear in demonstrating our mentored young people are staying in school longer and achieving more qualifications leading to increased options for work, further and higher education. This will unequivocally improve the life chances of these young people.”
MCR Founder Iain MacRitchie said: “We are hugely encouraged by the conclusions of the independent care review. The MCR mentoring programme is already delivering and making a profound difference to the life-chances of our young people.
“It is fantastic to have MCR permanently embedded in every secondary school in Glasgow. We just want to reach every care experienced young person across the country.
“Mentoring matters to both education outcomes, and confidence and wellbeing.”