Aim Higher West Midlands | Social mobility | Widening participation

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Mentoring Resources

The Aimhigher Learner Engagement Plan is a sequential and coherent programme of activities designed for learners in Years 7 to 13. Its main aim is to support the work of Aimhigher mentors in raising aspirations and improving progression rates to higher education, particularly among more disadvantaged young people. The programme is not intended to be prescriptive, but should provide a useful starting point upon which to build the exchanges with your learners.

The Engagement Plan is sequenced to deliver identified learner outcomes at particular phases in the learner journey through the national curriculum key stages to higher education entry. In our Engagement Plan, seven year groups are represented and can be divided into three phases:

  1. Introductory phase: Years 7, 8 and 9
  2. Developmental phase: Years 10 and 11
  3. Consolidation phase: Years 12 and 13

There are also a number of generic activities and information resources that mentors can use and tailor in the work with learners across all three phases.

The Engagement plan covers:

  • Settling in to secondary education
  • New subjects, new teachers, new friends
  • Study and revision skills
  • Learning styles
  • A skills audit
  • Soft skills
  • Subject choice
  • Qualifications and courses
  • Career implications
  • Higher education options
  • Applications to higher education via UCAS
  • Student finance

These activities will help the learner achieve the outcomes outlined in the three phases, and in particular:

  • Awareness of HE opportunities, and a basic understanding of HE and its significance
  • Recognition of the links between the learners’ current curriculum and study at HE level
  • An understanding of the different types of institutions and courses
  • Ability to make informed decisions and recognise that choices may influence career aspirations and options
  • An understanding of their own learning styles
  • Ability to demonstrate and apply the skills required to study at HE level: critical thinking; independent learning; organising their own work, etc

Delivering the Aimhigher Learner Engagement Plan

The Learner Engagement Plan has been designed to assist mentors in planning and structuring sessions that will engage and motivate learners at each stage of their development.

There are around 15 relevant areas for attention for each year group. The links in the tables below take you to a suite of suggested activities and resources to support you in your work, as well as information on other events and activities organised by Aimhigher and partner Universities that might be of interest to your learners. These include campus visits, subject enrichment programmes, master classes, revision classes, summer schools, and higher education conventions. Please note that although the Engagement Plan is divided up into year groups and Key Stages, your learners may benefit from activities which feature in other sections. For example, a year 11 pupil may not have the knowledge as described in the year 11 section. Therefore, some of the activities from the year 9 and 10 sections would be better suited.

PhaseYear GroupsMain Themes/Activities/Resources
Generic Years 7 to 13
  • Essential websites for mentors
  • Ground rules
  • Ice breakers
  • Communication styles
  • Learning styles
  • The Consequences Matrix
  • Rackets Self-Assessment
  • The Balance Wheel
  • SMART target setting
Introductory
  • Year 7
  • Year 8
  • Year 9
  • Settling in to secondary school
  • What sort of person are you?
  • Careers aspirations
  • Qualifications, subject options and choices
  • What is higher education?
  • Personal effectiveness and study skills
Developmental
  • Year 10
  • Year 11
  • Developing career plans
  • Perceptions Preconceptions and misconceptions of higher education
  • Costs and benefits of HE
  • Exploring different progression pathways
  • The importance of work and real-life experiences
  • GCSE revision, study and exam skills/techniques
  • Choices at 16
  • Researching options and decision making
  • Basic personal finance/budgeting
Consolidation
  • Year 12
  • Year 13
  • Learning styles, study skills and transition to post-16
  • Balancing your budget
  • Level 3 revision, study and exam skills/techniques
  • Recognising personal strengths and areas for improvement
  • Researching HE options and choices
  • Understanding UCAS and HE Finance systems
  • Enhancing the chances of success
  • Preparing for HE and independent learning/living

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"The scheme has helped me a lot because I have had someone to talk to who helps with my problems as well as school work"

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