A VMG is a vertical mentor group which includes students from Year 7 through to Year 11; there is a 15 minute session every day. VMGs each have a country and together, all VMGs form 5 continents; Africa, Asia, Americas, Australasia and Europe. Once a week there is an assembly, which are attended by all continents which focus on key elements of the Learning Model, topical issues or national days.
All VMGs have a teacher which leads and lead learners throughout the week.
There are a variety of activities per week, with a focus on literacy, numeracy, Pledges, SMSC, attendance and topical issues.
Each VMG has elected representatives which feedback to the Student Voice meetings every half term on key issues addressed by the student population.
Students are assigned to VMGs randomly, however, they will be mixed with students who they have been to primary school with. We do not match students with their friends as this does not support the ethos of everyone working together to buddy-up in VMGs. It also becomes tricky to meet everyone’s needs and therefore a random approach is taken. In VMGs students will be supported by older students who have had similar experiences and can be a mentor to help and support them.
What are the aims of the Vertical Mentoring Groups?
- That the time has structure and purpose for the students.
- It allows the tutors to concentrate on key groups of students at certain times of the year (e.g.: when students are taking options) ;
- It allows learning conversations to take place, both between tutor and student and student to student;
- It increases tutors’ knowledge and expertise as the whole school is involved in initiatives with every year group – but only with a small number of students each;
- Ease transitions i.e. Year 6-7, Year 9 Options.
- It gives students more individual attention at key times of the year;
- It creates a family atmosphere in the mentor room;
- It gives the opportunity for peer mentoring and develops leadership skills amongst older students;
- It allows students to remain with the same mentor/tutor throughout their school career;
- It improves communication between mentors/tutors and parents as mentors will have smaller numbers in their mentor group;
- It breaks down social and cultural barriers by encouraging students from all year groups to engage positively with each other.
- All year groups benefit, but it also creates more opportunities for older students to show what good role models they are.
- More accurately reflects the nature of society, as people rarely exclusively work with others their own age.
- Older students have taken on responsibility for induction of younger students and positive relationships between younger and older students have flourished.
- Tutor teams will have a wide experience of the needs of a child in each year group – hence a more holistic approach is achieved.
- Students can observe the school journey through other students before it is their turn.
- Students can support each other through critical events like Options and GCSEs. Students learn most effectively from their peers.
- Assemblies have more of a community ethos.
- It has helped prevent students from getting “lost” in a big school with only five from each year group, the tutor gives attention and support intensively at key times.