Monday, 26 July 2010

My colleague Barry Hilton, who heads up our Leeds Mentoring service, sent me this great bit of news today...

"Hi Chris, Leeds Mentoring has recently undergone an OFSTED type inspection. This was carried out by external assessors from the National Mentoring & Befriending Foundation. They visited a number of our High Schools to check our processes and procedures. I am delighted to say that we are one of only 10 mentoring organisations in the UK to have achieved this new quality standard. This is their assessment summary...

The MBF team acknowledges the full co-operation of Leeds Mentoring during this assessment process – April to June 2010. Each mentoring manager was involved with a school assessment visit and was present throughout the interviewing of school co-ordinators and mentors and mentees. The organisation behind the school visits and interviews was recognised and appreciated by the assessment team. The LM management team explained the operations of their mentoring programmes in depth at the initial assessment meeting. All relevant supporting documentation was provided as requested.

The practicalities of assessing such a range of mentoring programmes at nearly 40 school locations meant that a limited number of ‘on-site’ reviews could be carried out, with more emphasis on peer mentoring (the more extensive strand) than adult mentoring. However, the assessment did not identify any areas of concern and there was clear evidence that the project has maintained the operating standards which were required for earlier APS accreditations.

The professionalism and commitment of the Leeds Mentoring Team was particularly noted throughout the assessment. They have the skills, expertise and general education experience to manage a mentoring project of this size and develop models which incorporate good practice. It was clear that positive and effective relationships with individual school co-ordinators are in place and that the mentoring programmes are valued and supported by senior school leadership.

The assessment highlighted a number of good practice features which included a comprehensive peer mentoring training process, the development of an extensive business network to support adult mentoring, a highly-structured monitoring format to record individual student progress and the use of added-value indicators to evaluate the effectiveness of mentoring support.

In view of the considerable uncertainty about future education expenditure (with Aimhigher funding finishing in 2011), this assessment would recommend the Leeds Mentoring schools project to prospective funders as clearly demonstrating outstanding practice and providing a highly-valued service to school communities. Similarly, should future arrangements require schools to buy in Leeds Mentoring support they will be contracting with a proven professional provider.


This is fantastic news and recognises the fact that our mentoring service is one of the best in the country. Barry and the team are dioing a brilliant job which we know from the research and the data is making a huge difference.

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