Creative Mentoring

About Creative Mentoring

Creative Mentoring is

The Rotherham Creative Mentoring project draws on extensive knowledge and experience gained within an existing project, started in Derbyshire around ten years ago. It sees highly skilled and specially trained artists (known as ‘Creative Mentors’) working one-to-one with children and young people in care. During mentoring sessions, the mentee and mentor work together to explore the young person’s interests, developing vital skills such as confidence, communication, and team working, whilst also offering a safe, positive safe space that boosts resilience and emotional wellbeing.

Rotherham Virtual School has developed a partnership with a local charity based, Grimm and Co. They describe themselves as ‘a registered charity and our core purpose is to change lives one story at a time. We support under-resourced children and young people aged 7 to 18 with their confidence and skills around creativity and writing. We introduce children and young people to discover creativity and imagination through artists, one-to-one mentoring and exciting projects which spark motivation to write. We know that strong writing skills and an ability to imagine beyond what we experience are fundamental to future success. We also believe it is important for young people to see a real reason to write so there is always an outcome from the activities we do.’ Creative Mentors are Associate Artists who work with Grimm & Co and who also support the delivery of the Creative Mentoring programme.

Pupils are referred to the Creative Mentoring project by the Virtual School Education Advisors. They may be referred for a variety of reasons; an interest in the creative arts, social, emotional or mental health needs, difficulties engaging in education or they may be at risk of exclusion.

The Creative Mentor will

The Creative Mentor will take time to get to know the young person, often through creative activity but also through sporting, physical or life skills activities. Usually there is a starter activity which is used to energise and connect the young person and the Creative Mentor. The Creative Mentor may bring activities for the young person or look for opportunities within the environment. Over time and once relationships have been established the Mentor will start to facilitate longer term activities or interests. Mentee have been supported to create sculptures and models, painting, songs, performances and engage in photography. All activities are discussed and carefully negotiated, between mentor and mentee, to ensure agreement, consent and engagement. Creative Mentoring is a relationship focused and child led activity which is firmly based within a model of social constructivism and social pedagogy.

Activities are always practical, engaging and enjoyable, using a range of different tools and creative medias (film, drama, music, poetry, photography, stories, cooking, and many more.). The Creative Mentor may to learn new skills themselves in order to support the young person. Learning together has proved to be a powerful way to build stronger relationships. Activities are personalised to individual areas of interest but in general they seek to help young people safely explore the world around them, learn new skills, communicate with others and address personal and emotional issues from a ‘creative distance’.

Through planning the activity collaboratively, with the young person and alongside their supporting adults, Creative Mentors help to identify personalised pathways for progression. They carefully nurture young people’s social and emotional development, enabling them to develop their interests, engage fully in learning and focus on their ambitions.

Things to know about Creative Mentoring

In Rotherham, Creative Mentoring sessions usually take place within the child or young person’s school, but as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown many online sessions and socially distanced outdoor activities have been planned and delivered. Hopefully, working within school settings offers a safe base for the young person with access to resources and support. It also means that transport is not a barrier to engagement. Alternative venues can also be discussed and explored if required.

Creative Mentoring sessions are usually around two hours, but time may vary depending on the specific learning targets, activities and outcomes for the session. Overall, Creative Mentors will bring their own resources, however access to amenities, basic resources, refreshments and even IT facilities would be much appreciated.

The aim of Creative Mentoring is

Creative Mentoring seeks to gently enhance strengths and abilities, develop and grow an awareness of self and others, and in some cases steer young people back towards engagement in education through personal development and creative activity. It is hoped that Creative Mentors will become part of the core team of professionals working collaboratively and creatively to support the young person socially, emotionally, educationally and practically to enable progression.

Virtual School is accountable to the Department for Education for how we use the Pupil Premium Plus budget. Much of it goes directly to schools to enable support for individual pupils whose needs have been identified through Personal Education Planning (PEP) meetings. Creative Mentoring is a new approach that works alongside this traditional model but brings in creative and innovative ways of working with children in care.

If you would like more information about Creative Mentoring, please contact:

The Virtual School Education Advisor linked to your young person

Email:Karen Davies (Specialist Educational Psychologist)