We spoke to Pauline Swan, Headteacher, and Nicki Dillon, Faculty Head of Inclusion at Whitehill Secondary in Glasgow’s East End to discuss how mentoring and MCR has become a fundamental part of the school’s culture. Pauline had only been at Whitehill for 6 months before MCR approached her and she felt it matched the vision they had for the school.
How did you feel MCR could support your school’s young people?
We thought it could help improve engagement and attainment. We don’t always have an extra hour to spend with each child who needs the extra support, with mentoring you had that.
How have MCR’s mentors impacted your school’s young people?
Our key focuses were improving attainment, improving outcomes and improving life chances. Although we’ve only had a short term engagement with MCR we’ve already started seeing the positive results. Every young person who has engaged in the programme has had their attainment improved and their rates are actually higher than the national average. And each and every one has either stayed on at school or moved to a positive destination.
How has MCR’s support impacted your school/community as a whole?
For the whole community, it comes down to the meeting every young person’s needs. While the programme targets specific young people, it has an enormous impact on the whole school. Attainment is a big factor, the MCR young people have seen their attainment rates improve and that means we’ve got more children operating at a higher levels. This lets us build more opportunities into the time table and that’s had an affect on the whole senior phase.
“Each and every young person at our school involved in MCR has either stayed on at school or moved to a positive destination.”
What would you say to other schools about the benefit of MCR’s programme and encouraging them to become an MCR school?
The actual work and engagement that they’ve done has surpassed our expectations even from the first meeting. Mentored young people are role models now. That’s having that knock on effect. Other young people are asking to be part of that because they see what they’re doing, what they are achieving and that’s appealing to them.