Better together

The recent primary Humanutopia conference hosted by School Improvement Liverpool saw The Academy of St Nicholas highlight their ‘The Heroes’ mentoring project which is aimed at students from Year 5 up to Year 11.

The project is an interactive programme which has been designed to train and grow teams of heroes to mentor and provide training sessions for pupils in Year 7, 8 and in primaries.

Their work is designed to help young people make positive changes and to improve their life chances and there have been dramatic improvements in the self-esteem of both the academy heroes and the younger students they mentor each week.

This positivity and measurable impacts is achieved by the group’s focus on the five main areas of hope, confidence, happiness, relationships and employability skills.

Each week 27 Year 11 students mentor a group of students, who are involved in the planning and delivery of ‘Icon Sessions’ whereby they act as role models for Year 8 students.

The students prepare discussion points on topics such as body image, bullying, career aspirations and resilience. They fully lead sessions and themselves have gained invaluable skills for their future. Seeing really is believing.

As one student said: “Becoming a hero has changed my life. I have ASD and being involved in such a unique and special programme has not only helped me to manage my condition but it has given me the confidence to face the world beyond school.”

The conference welcomed over 110 staff and students from nine visiting feeder primary schools as a means of introducing the primary school staff and students to the ongoing in house heroes programme and to giving the heroes practice in mentoring outside their own school.

Staff from the feeder primary schools were delighted and responded very positively to the event with all nine schools stating that it was well organised and that they would welcome the opportunity to participate in future events.

Staff also commented that the Heroes were “Excellent role models” who “presented themselves well” and were also “very professional”.

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