Bridging Policy with Practice

Transforming practice with effective policy to support care-experienced young people to realise their full potential. Learn more about our vision below.

Policy that Makes a Difference

Mentoring has a significant positive impact on children and young people who receive it, with evidence that it can improve educational attainment. Schools must also be supported to encourage and develop mentoring relationships for those who would benefit.

MCR Pathways is dedicated to eliminating the education, job choices, and life chances gap that exists between care-experienced young people and their peers. We know that all young people are talented, but instability and severe disruptions at home make it greatly more challenging for young people in or on the edge of the care system to succeed.

A large body of evidence shows that MCR mentoring is radically transforming educational outcomes for our nation’s care-experienced and vulnerable young people. Our aim is to reach every young person across the country, who has experienced disadvantage, with our programme and provide them with the tools and support they need.

The Government is now being called on to simply make MCR mentoring a permanent feature of the education system and a right for every care-experienced pupil. The Care Review has emphasised the necessity of incorporating education, third sector and other caring adults into the reformed structure of the nation’s Care System and mentoring is an essential part of this delivery.

Make Mentoring a Right

We believe that school-based, MCR mentoring should be a right for all care-experienced young people. This should be backed by policy and a permanent part of the education system.

Corporate Parents as just Parents

We believe that Corporate Parents should just think and act as good parents: individually and with unconditional care. We should now drop the word ‘corporate’. Education is the route to success and there is no better way than to support and mentor a young person. 

Redefine Widening Access

We believe “widening access” needs to be wider and younger.  To best support care-experienced young people, colleges and universities should work directly with pupils and mentor them in schools. 


MCR’s Founder and Chair, Iain MacRitchie, was appointed to the The Promise Oversight Board, created in February 2021. The board was formed to hold Scotland accountable against the recommendations set by the country’s Independent Care Review.

The Oversight Board will use The Plan, which sets out the next steps and key priorities, to monitor the progress organisations make individually, and the progress Scotland makes collectively. This is a fantastic step forward for change to improve the lives of care-experienced people.

Evidencing the Impact

Below are recent publications we’ve been involved with that underline the power of mentoring:

Delving Deeper to Come Back Stronger

Published in the Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care.

Over spring 2020, we surveyed more than 1,000 young people in or on the edge of the care system to understand their experience of lockdown. This article will expand on our first report, examining through segmentation the impact of age, gender and care status, and explore why even before lockdown care-experienced young people have lower levels of achievement compared to their peers.

MCR Lockdown Survey - Voices of Young People

1,347 young people from across Scotland participated in the MCR Pathways
Lockdown survey, which ran for six weeks over June and July 2020.  

Those surveyed are Scotland’s care-experienced and vulnerable young people, for whom lockdown and home education were extremely challenging. Young people provided responses to questions on their mental wellbeing, home learning, expectations
for the future, and support needed for the return to education.

ScotCen Independent MCR Evaluation

Report by ScotCen (the Scottish arm of NatCen, Britain’s largest independent social research agency) and Robertson Trust. 

This 3 year, independently produced, study used internationally renowned methodology and shows the statistically significant impact of MCR Pathways’ programme on care-experienced young people’s education outcomes.

Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care

This article, written by our founder Dr. Iain MacRitchie, describes his vision for the future of Care policy. 

We believe those with experience of the care system should lead, and that the definitions of corporate parenting and widening access must be broadened.

Social & Economic Impact of mentoring

We conducted a report to investigate the commercial, economic and social impact of MCR mentoring. 

The report shows how mentoring positively impacts employers and how it can be an essential tool for staff and personal development.

MCR Pathways COVID Impact Report 2021

Throughout the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, MCR Pathways continued to support young people all across the country. This report highlights key stats to show how impactful the programme was during this time.

In addition to this, we reflect on the Lockdown survey which over 1,000 young people participated in.

Hear More From Our Founder

MCR founder, Dr. Iain MacRitchie, shares his vision of economic recovery that prioritises the voices of our most vulnerable at heart. Over the course of several penetrating articles, published exclusively in the Herald Scotland, he explores the steps governments need to take to ensure not only robust economic recovery from the Covid pandemic, but also the creation of a fairer system, where everyone is determined by their potential not their circumstances.