Welcome back to the second in our series of blogs where we will continue to look at the rise of peer-to-peer mentoring in online safeguarding.
Primary and secondary schools are increasingly tapping into the many benefits of peer-to-peer mentoring schemes. These schemes involve pupils taking a lead role, similar to that of a prefect, in mentoring their peers or younger year groups in every aspect of online safety.
However, for peer-led mentoring to be successful, there are a number of key elements a school must consider before implementation – starting with a clear understanding of how their scheme will work and a strategy for putting it into action.
This should outline your expectations as a school for how mentoring will be delivered, tracked and monitored, and how you will support the pupils involved.
Whilst there is not yet a standard or coherent approach to peer-to-peer mentoring, and some schools simply set up schemes themselves, it’s much more likely to be safe and successful if it’s created in consultation with the relevant support agencies.
The NSPCC, the Safer Internet Centre and Childnet each provide critical guidance on setting up a well-rounded programme, giving schools a clear foundation that can be tweaked to suit their unique circumstances.
Support and training must be in place for any students taking on a mentoring role so that they’re fully prepared for a position of greater responsibility. Staff should also receive appropriate training to support mentors correctly.
It’s vital to clearly set out to mentors exactly what’s expected of them, how they should share knowledge and provide guidance, and what they should do if they feel any child in their peer group is at risk or is experiencing difficulties.
Establishing a clear escalation route for mentors to flag up these issues to the relevant teacher or safeguarding lead is essential, and mentors should be continuously monitored by teachers from an emotional and mental wellbeing perspective.
Checking in regularly with mentors and discussing what is and isn’t working will help to ensure the scheme is running effectively.
Ration of learners who are more informed about the digital world than ever before, and – most crucially - empowering them to create a safer and brighter future.
Part 1 of series : The role of peer-to-peer mentoring in online safeguarding
Part 3 of series : Creating better safeguarding engagement through peer-to-peer mentoring
Part 4 of series : A collaborative approach to peer-to-peer mentoring
For more information, advice and guidance around our online safety solutions, visit www.rm.com/onlinesafety.
We will also be discussing Digital Resilience this month at the RM Seminars and delivering a day’s session to help school’s build digital resilience in their children and support them in navigating the online world effectively. To find out more and register for your free place, visit www.rm.com/seminars.