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Student mentors at a scheme social
Student mentors at a scheme social

Press Release - 15 May 2007

E-Mentoring inspires Swindon school students

School students across Swindon have been inspired to think about going on to university, thanks to an e-mentoring scheme run by the University of Bath.

The seven-month scheme has paired University undergraduates with 25 Year 9 and 10 school students who had previously thought university was not for them.

In the scheme the undergraduates exchange weekly emails with the school students and also meet them face-to-face during a visit to the University of Bath.

It gives the school students the chance to talk to their specially trained mentors about problems with their schoolwork, options for study after GCSE and all about university life.

The scheme ran at Nova Hreod Parkway School, Greendown Community School, Churchfields School and Dorcan Technology School. The school students all have the ability to go on to higher education but were at risk of not fulfilling their potential because of low aspirations or no family experience of university.

Laura Burchall, Humanities teacher at Churchfields School in Swindon, said: “The students now feel that university is a realistic option for them. They enjoyed talking to someone who has recently been through what they are experiencing, rather than talking to teachers. They said it was like having a ‘guide on the side’ to help them through any difficulties.

“Some of them really looked up to their mentor as a role model. We had two students who were exhibiting major behavioural problems but they have now really turned a corner as a result of the scheme. They are more focused and are engaging well with teachers and students.”

Alexandra Edwards-Clements, a year 10 student from Churchfields School said: “I found the e-mentoring scheme an extremely interesting, helpful and fun experience. Having someone there to talk to about any concerns, any problems with school work and not be judged for it was a great experience and I made a really good new friend too.”

The e-mentoring scheme is part of the national Aimhigher programme which aims to widen participation in higher education by raising the awareness, aspirations and attainment of young people from under-represented groups. It is run by the Higher Education Funding Council for England with support from the Department for Education and Skills.

Undergraduates employed by the mentoring scheme attend a specialised training programme to prepare them for the mentoring role and they receive ongoing support to enable them to provide high quality mentoring support to the young people they work with.

The University of Bath runs a series of Aimhigher events to widen participation in higher education, including tutoring schemes, open days and summer schools for school students in the south-west region.

For more information about the e-mentoring scheme please email Liz Johnson at the University of Bath at or call 01225 384041.

The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. View a full list of the University's press releases: