Barton Peveril Sixth Form College successfully launched a student-lead mentoring programme for its Biology A Level, to help students during the current lockdown. Second year Biology students used the knowledge they gained in preparation for their summer exams, which were cancelled, to mentor first year students and provide them with further support ahead of the last year of their college studies.
The programme was established after a second year student approached their Biology teacher, offering to share their expertise with first year students.
Barton Peveril’s Biology teachers built on this idea. The teachers developed the scheme to both assist first year students and to provide second year students with a way to put their studies to good use, refresh their knowledge ahead of their progression to Biology-related degrees, and to stay connected with their College and fellow students during lockdown.
Each mentor has so far delivered up to two 60 minute sessions per week, with three mentees in each session, via Google Meet. The sessions have been very well received, with mentees benefitting from the ability to gain knowledge and insight from the second years on both course content and their student experience.
Speaking on the programme, second year student and mentor Abbie Miller said:
‘I feel that the scheme has been very successful in helping first years with tricky content while they are learning online and also beneficial to myself and other mentors by keeping our knowledge fresh in preparation for University. It has also been great to stay in touch with the college and still feel part of the community.’
First year student Harriet Livingstone, who benefited from the programme, said:
‘I have found the biology mentoring so helpful in aiding my new topic learning at home and consolidating my understanding of previous topics throughout the first year. Exam tips, techniques and over all improvement has been invaluable as biology is a challenging subject for me but I am so grateful to be given this support during this time’
Barton Peveril Teacher of Biology, John Russell, commented on the programme:
‘We are delighted with the way that both first and second year students have risen to the challenges of distance learning. The second year mentors have been phenomenal in their generosity of time and willingness to prepare meetings and resources, as well as the professionalism they demonstrate in supporting first year students with their studies. First year mentees have likewise engaged superbly well with this popular scheme and have been willing to ask questions and suggest material to cover to gain the most benefit. This has been a real ‘win-win’ for all involved!’