Sophie's Story

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Sophie is a carer for her mum. Her Dad has been absent from her life for over 4 years, her younger brother died when Sophie was only 2 years old and recently her 2 older sisters have left home.

When Sophie began seeing her Pastoral Mentor her attendance at school was poor. She was frequently feeling anxious, low in her mood and was finding day-to-day life challenging and overwhelming. She wasn't eating or sleeping well and had little motivation for school. Her situation was a particular worry as she was in year 11 and due to take her GCSE exams.

The mentoring work began with exploring healthy life choices around diet, exercise, sleep and relaxation away from electronic devices. We created a plan for Sophie to follow and she was successful in improving her sleep and energy levels. 

We also discussed the challenges in her home life each week and, despite regular setbacks involving her Dad and run-ins with girls outside school which included some physical fights, Sophie grew in hope and determination to press-on and do her best in year 11. 

Exploring positives in her life helped Sophie to see that her Mum and a number of friends were there for her. Gradually she was able to better describe the things that make her anxious – notably ‘the future’ and ‘failing her exams’ and explaining how this made her feel. 

The sessions looked at school revision techniques and being more planful with her school work and revision period. With the weekly encouragement and support of her mentor Sophie developed a CV and submitted an application for college. She was really excited when she was invited for interview and her mentoring session considered how she could present the best of herself and her strengths with practical examples. 

Sophie said that as a result of mentoring she was more confident, felt able to speak out when she needs help, and became able to see all the positive things about herself and life in general. She is now in a position to achieve her goals in year 11 and improve her life chances by continuing post-16 education at college - something that seemed very unlikely at the onset of the mentoring.  Well done Sophie, we are incredibly proud of you and impressed with what you have achieved.

* Image of 'Sophie' - A Model has been used in place of Sophie to protect her identity

Kieran's Story

After his parents separated, 12 year-old Kieran had been getting into trouble in school and at home his anger had led to him breaking a door off its hinges and fighting with his brother. In mentoring sessions Kieran spent time learning how the anger that people see can be anger at things they don’t see. He was given the space to talk about the things he felt angry about, and help to try and express his feelings constructively rather than exploding.

After several sessions, Kieran reported that a system he was using to let his brother know when he was getting annoyed was working so well that his mum had increased his pocket money and they’d gone to the cinema together as a treat. After several more sessions, Kieran was made an Ambassador for his school in recognition of the positive change in his behaviour and the good example he was to others.

Kieran’s feedback at the end of his sessions was that his Pastoral Mentor had helped him learn about his feelings and how to be in control of his anger.

* Image of 'Kieran' - A Model has been used in place of Kieran to protect his identity

Tia's Story

When she began to attend mentoring sessions,14 year-old Tia had been feeling very low for over a year since her grandmother had died. Her parents were particularly concerned that she spent her evenings and weekends in her bedroom and avoided spending time with them or her sister. Tia had also previously harmed herself by cutting her arms.

After several mentoring sessions completing activities to build Tia’s self-esteem and encourage her to express her feelings through journaling and drawing, Tia’s confidence had built so that she was willing to talk to other young people at school that she didn’t know, and also volunteered to get involved in a project advocating for young people at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. She said that, “being able to talk to my Pastoral Mentor and journal has made me feel less isolated and stressed, so I don’t need to cut now.”

Her mum phoned THIS WAY UP to say that they had had a lovely holiday where Tia had seemed to be a part of the family again. Tia’s transformation was also been talked about by her teachers.

* Image of 'Tia' - A Model has been used in place of Tia to protect his identity

John's Story

15 year-old John came to mentoring sessions 2 weeks after his dad had died unexpectedly after an epileptic fit. He used the space to talk about the funeral and process his different feelings. He enjoyed making a memory book to commemorate and remember his dad, and said that “the mentoring sessions have helped me take time out to let out all my thoughts so I can carry on with other things the rest of the time.” After a few months John said he didn’t need to come anymore, but said he would want to see a Pastoral Mentor if he felt he needed to in the future.

* Image of 'John' - A Model has been used in place of John to protect his identity

Tina's Story

14 year-old Tina came to mentoring sessions very anxious about the prospect of her mock exams occurring around the anniversary date of her dad’s death. She had never talked about her dad’s death before but was given the space to do this with her Mentor and to make a memory jar to commemorate him. At the end of her sessions she said that she felt much happier than at the start. She said “I’m able to see the positives in life and can focus in lessons for the exams.”

* Image of 'Tina' - A Model has been used in place of Tina to protect his identity