A School's Story

Saint Roch’s Secondary
Tommy Donnelly, Depute Head Teacher

MCR Pathways supports young people in every secondary in Glasgow. Saint Roch’s Secondary in Royston was one of the first schools to embed our mentoring programme.

Saint Roch’s Depute Head Teacher, Tommy Donnelly, talks about the impact of MCR on their school over the years.

“MCR Pathways is aspirational and aims to challenge barriers and the inequality of opportunity that many of our young people face.

I can recall how the project started. Initially, our school was one of MCR’s lead schools and it started off with just 4 young people. However, it’s grown now and we have 50 young people within the school that are being mentored.

Over the past year, there have been a number of new developments which have had a positive impact. The use of trained external mentors has opened up a number of wide-ranging experiences tailored to the needs of the young people involved and the support has ranged from vocational and academic advice through to support on a personal level.

Mentoring has many benefits for our young people. It’s helped us keep some of our young people, especially some of our more vulnerable young people, engaged with their learning, engaged with programmes.

For one of our young people, the information from her mentor ensured that we were able to keep her engaged in education during a period of time that there was a lot of instability in her life, which the school was not completely aware of.

Mentoring enables us to broaden their horizons and broaden their possibilities for the future. We can see an increased level of engagement in subjects and also their role within the wider community. For some of the mentors, they’re actively engaged in working with them, goal setting, target setting but sometimes it’s motivating them and enabling them to see where potential pathways could be for their future.

The use of mentors appears to send a powerful message to young people and there is an understanding that they are valued and that the school and the wider community are investing time to support them.

MCR Pathways ensures that young people are able to draw on wider nurturing experiences such as the Summer Activities programme. I know that holidays can traditionally be a time that young people with an unstable home life can be isolated and at their most vulnerable. Last Summer, our MCR young people enjoyed a range of activities.

The most compelling evidence of the success of the MCR Pathways programme is directly from the young people themselves. Most commonly, young people refer to an increase in confidence, enhanced academic/vocational advice and ‘someone to talk to about my life’. Our young people are clear that this is something which is of a real benefit to them.

Personally, I have been delighted to be involved with MCR Pathways from an early stage in the project. MCR Pathways has an impact on the life chances of the young people involved.”