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Learning Mentors - removing barriers to learning and supporting achievement

This site provides a broad range of information and support materials relating to Learning Mentor provision for schools and colleges.

Please check the news or events pages for new items.

Learning Mentors originated as one of the three main strands of the Excellence in Cities (EiC) initiative, and work largely in primary and secondary education settings. They are:

  • Salaried staff who work with school and college students and pupils to help them address barriers to learning
  • A bridge across academic and pastoral support roles with the aim of ensuring that individual pupils and students engage more effectively in learning and achieve appropriately
  • A key ingredient in many school and college approaches to improve the achievement levels of pupils and students.

Learning Mentors are now established as an important new occupational group through the National Occupational Standards for Learning, Development and Support Services (NOS LDSS).  NOS LDSS provide minimum standards of practice for the work of Learning Mentors, Education Welfare Officers and practitioners supporting children and young people (such as Connexions Personal Advisers in England). The NOS LDSS are underpinned by functional maps, which specifically describe the different roles covered.

The Learning Mentor Functional Map describes the work as providing "support and guidance to children, young people and those engaged with them, by removing barriers to learning in order to promote effective participation, enhance individual learning, raise aspirations and achieve full potential."

The functional map splits the work into three broad areas:

  • Providing a complementary service that enhances existing provision in order to support learning, participation and the encouragement of social inclusion
  • Developing and maintaining effective and supportive mentoring relationships with children, young people and those engaged with them
  • Working within an extended range of networks and partnerships to broker support and learning opportunities, and improve the quality of services to children and young people

Simplified version of the functional map can be found here.

"Learning mentors are making a significant effect on the attendance, behaviour, self-esteem and progress of the pupils they support… the most successful and highly valued strand of the EiC programme… In 95% of the survey schools, inspectors judged that the mentoring programme made a positive contribution to the mainstream provision of the school as a whole, and had a beneficial effect on the behaviour of individual pupils and on their ability to learn and make progress."  Excellence in Cities and Education Action Zones: management and impact (p46, Ofsted, 2003)

Learning Mentors are also established as part of the new Children's Workforce, and will increasingly be supported through the new Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC). The CWDC has been established following the government's commitment to workforce reform in the green paper Every Child Matters, and is responsible for the implementation and support of the Government's Children's Workforce Strategy.

The Frequently Asked Questions Page provides more information on the role of the Learning Mentor.

Supporting the New Agenda for Children's Services and Schools: the role of Learning Mentors and Co-ordinators", DfES 2005, is now available for download through our Schools and Local Authorities page: This guide for planners, managers agencies and schools has been produced with the aim of supporting the movement of the work from initiative to mainstream status. It draws from practice and the range of products produced centrally over the last year.