The Peer Support for Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing programme is a national Department for Education (DfE) funded programme which was piloted in 89 schools in six areas in England. Derby was one of the six areas that was chosen, which enabled Firs Primary School to be part of the pilot.
As a school we have taken part of the training and have successfully run this programme for the last school year.
The Peer Support programme is based on 5 core principles.
Work where young people are at. (Be creative about how you engage young people)
Involve the right people. (Think carefully about Mentor and Mentee recruitment.)
Focus on relationships (build trust to create space for change.)
Encourage Young People’s ownership. (Collaborate, co-design and co-produce with younger people.)
Be safe and boundaried. (Ensure mentors are adequately trained and supervised.)
The Learning Mentor and 1 trained 7 mentors through the programme and then assigned them carefully to their mentees. The role of the mentor was to support their mentee through everyday challenges. They needed to be active listeners, willing participants and a good friend to others.
We have been fortunate to be able to take four of the mentors, accompanied by the Head Teacher to London to the Anna Freud Kantor Centre of Excellence. The mentors presented their journeys to a group of professionals and were interviewed by members of the Anna Freud Team for the training programme that will be rolled out to all staff.