Deputy mayor of London visits Barking Abbey School to learn about mentoring scheme

The Deputy Mayor for Social Mobility and Community Engagement Matthew Ryder with members of City Yea

The Deputy Mayor for Social Mobility and Community Engagement Matthew Ryder with members of City Year UK on a visit to Barking Abbey School. - Credit: Archant

Barking Abbey School received a visit today from deputy mayor of London, Matthew Ryder, to find out about the success of a mentoring scheme.

The Deputy Mayor for Social Mobility and Community Engagement Matthew Ryder with members of City Yea

The Deputy Mayor for Social Mobility and Community Engagement Matthew Ryder with members of City Year UK on a visit to Barking Abbey School. - Credit: Archant

City Year UK is designed to provide teams of 18 – 25 year olds to volunteer as mentors and role models to pupils needing extra support.

Mr Ryder said: “I have been visiting several communities across London, and I’m really keen to get out of City Hall and see what’s going on.

“We are keen to integrate different communities and make them feel part of London life, and this starts with young people.”

The scheme originated in Boston, Massachusetts in 1988 and operates in 27 cities across America, where it was a great success. It launched in the UK in London in 2010.

The Deputy Mayor for Social Mobility and Community Engagement Matthew Ryder with members of City Yea

The Deputy Mayor for Social Mobility and Community Engagement Matthew Ryder with members of City Year UK on a visit to Barking Abbey School. - Credit: Archant


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The idea is to bridge the age gap between staff and pupils, providing mentoring and one to one or small group support that schools would otherwise be stretched to provide.

It is also designed to help the young volunteers, many of them fresh out of university, providing them with valuable work experience and potential career opportunities.

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One such volunteer is Leanne Lewis, currently working with pupils in Year 9. She graduated last year in psychology from De Montfort University in Leicester.

“It was intimidating at first, because I’m short and the school runs a basketball academy, with several pupils who are really tall,” she said.

“At first I was shy, but the experience has developed my confidence quite a lot.”

Leanne found that she soon made progress with the pupils, adding: “Some are really cool and love my help, some are more challenging, but I found that if you keep being persistent with them it works.”

The Sandringham Road school’s headteacher Jo Tupman said: “It was a delight to welcome Matthew to our school today.

“City Year’s volunteers have been serving in Barking Abbey since September and they’ve made a huge difference already, supporting pupils to succeed at school.”

She added that she views the scheme as a big success, and that she is particularly impressed with the volunteers, saying: “They have a real, strong moral purpose.”

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