National Mentoring Day: Empowering Refugee Children Through Education-focused Mentoring

One inspiring person coming into a young person’s life can have an immeasurable impact on their future. Particularly for someone struggling at school, who feels disenfranchised from education. Through Katherine Low Settlement’s Love to Learn project based in Battersea, we offer 1-1 mentoring to ensure that those young people lacking confidence have someone they can turn to, to tutor, encourage, and enable them to reach their full potential.

Education is undeniably a huge part of a child’s upbringing in the UK, with school taking up such a large proportion of their lives. We see education as preparing young people for their future, for the world that lies ahead. If that is the case, what happens when a young person isn’t engaging with their education? Perhaps they’re low in confidence, they feel they can’t understand what they’re being asked to do and they are fed up with low grades and being told off during class. For many young people, school is a place they dread going to. You may remember feeling that way yourself when you were at school. You could say that these young people’s relationship with education isn’t working, and it is so often the case that the best efforts of the school and their parents are unable to find a solution to make that relationship healthy again.

In the vast amount of cases such as this, a fresh new presence in a young person’s life can make all the difference. A new relationship, away from all the usual voices saying ‘do this’ and perhaps more often ‘don’t do that’. A calm presence to sit alongside them and explain seemingly complicated topics in a clear and understandable way. A down-to-earth role model who can speak retrospectively about the positive role education has played in their life, and how it can in the young person’s life too. This is the type of mentoring we offer through our Love to Learn learning mentors project, and as you can imagine, this has a great impact on the young people we work with, all of whom come from a refugee background.

Our outcomes for mentoring include:

  • Learned study skills and techniques
  • Improved knowledge and understanding in school subjects
  • Mentees to know how and where to get support for their education
  • Increased confidence
  • Improved relationships with adults
  • Setting up and meeting realistic targets
  • Greater happiness and wellbeing

Upon receiving a referral, the wonderful staff at Love to Learn will take time to assess the needs of the young person and then match them with a mentor who they feel will enable them to flourish. The learning mentors and mentees will then meet up approximately once a week to look at homework and talk about the young person’s education, giving them the tools and self-confidence they need to thrive at school.

Katherine Low Settlement is a community centre that has been focused on tending to the needs of our local communities since 1924. We see the educational empowerment of young people from refugee backgrounds as a paramount modern-day need in Battersea and Wandsworth. We have made it our mission to meet that need through our Love to Learn project, which as well as educational mentoring also runs homework clubs, educational casework and advocacy services. All to support that mission of empowering the local refugee communities.

In acknowledgement of National Mentoring Day, we want to take this opportunity to show recognition and appreciation for all the people involved in mentoring projects in the UK. It is so important that young people who feel disenfranchised from education have that opportunity to re-engage and enjoy learning again.

Find out more about Love to Learn at

Would you like to get involved with mentoring at Katherine Low Settlement?

If you’re interested in volunteering as a learning mentor, you can get in touch with Sophie at [email protected].

We are also hiring for the position of Refugee Learning Mentor Project Manager and particularly looking for someone with a background in education or youth work. Deadline is November 6th 2018. You can find out more and apply by clicking here.

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