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‘Active Student’, The University of Brighton’s Volunteering programme is pleased to be continuing its BAME  (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic) mentoring programme after receiving another round of funding from SLN:COP.  The programme which ran last year received extremely positive feedback and helped to raise the aspirations and confidence of some 60 learners.

Nationally there is still an attainment gap between BAME pupils and their white counterparts where BAME students are less likely to gain a first or 2:1 degree in comparison to their white peers*. Students from a Black Caribbean background also have the highest non-continuation rates within Higher Education of all ethnic groups.**

Unfortunately this gap is also reflected in Sussex Schools and there are particular challenges around the progression of BAME students in Sussex due to its predominantly white demographic, and whilst the population is becoming increasingly diverse, we know that there is a low percentage of teachers who are visibly BAME which results in a lack of positive role models in schools for BAME pupils to identify with and look up to.

Providing BAME role models as mentors is a simple and effective way to inspire young people to be the best that they can be – helping to improve their own self-esteem, pupils are being given the opportunity to understand more about university, improve their study skills and ultimately, positively impact on the number of BAME people from local schools progressing onto higher level learning.

“Traditionally students identifying as BAME that have attended our academy have not gone onto pursue a University education. The BAME Mentoring Programme, funded by NCOP and run through the University of Brighton, has allowed us to identify a group of students that have the potential to succeed at University but are limited by other factors, including: support for higher education from home; lack of understanding of University courses and entry requirements; lack of role models. The BAME Mentoring Programme, where our students get to work with UoB students, is starting to demystify ‘University’ and give our students clarity and belief in their ability to get there.”  Phil SnellingAssistant Principal: Raising Standards. HASLA

The programme matches BAME Brighton University students with BAME pupils in some of our target schools across the county.  Each school has a six week programme consisting of a 1:1 mentoring session for approximately 10 BAME students, once a week for five weeks. The final week of the programme consists of a visit to the University where mentees have a careers information session and undertake fun and informative tasks to increase their knowledge and understanding of University culminating in a celebratory event.

There are a number of impacts this project sets to achieve;

  • BAME school pupils have feel more confident, with raised aspirations, engagement and skills development.
  • BAME school pupils are able to speak with and seek support from their mentors regarding issues relating to identity and racism
  • Schools understand more about the issues some of their BAME pupils are facing and adapt practices/systems accordingly
  • BAME school pupils are inspired and encouraged to achieve their best
  • BAME university students feel more confident and improve their communication skills to contribute to an enhanced CV and employability

As part of the project a toolkit has been developed to enable schools to deliver a sustainable peer to peer BAME mentoring programme in-house. This can be downloaded here: BAME Mentoring Programme: Schools Toolkit

“I just wanted to say thank you. To be honest you are like the older sister that I’ve never had. You always managed to make me smile. You’ve boosted my confidence and ‘made’ me do things that I’d never have done if you hadn’t encouraged me….I can’t tell you how thankful I am to have had you as a mentor” BAME pupil who received mentoring 2017/18

For further information, please email our  Mentoring Programme Manager, Debra Vice-Holt

Further reading:

Runnymede publishes Race and Racism in English Secondary Schools by Dr Remi Joseph-Salisbury of the University of Manchester. The report explores the nature of racism in secondary schools and is organised around four key issues: the teacher workforce; curricula; police; and school policies. The report can be found via their website here.

*Source HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England)

**Source OFFA (Office for Fair Access)