A NEW mentoring scheme at Abbeyfield School in Chippenham has been rolled out after 44 pupils completed their training programme.

More than 65 pupils applied to be mentors on the programme with the selected group, who are in Years 9 to 13.

The peer mentors will meet up with a younger pupil each week during tutor time to discuss problems and advise on possible solutions.

Ben Purkiss in Year 13 helped begin the scheme in September with the pupils receiving training on safeguarding in January before the full programme roll-out.

As a pupil with severe dyslexia, Ben said he struggled at school during Year 8 and 9 and when he got through his difficulties he wanted to give something back to help others.

“I have been the senior peer mentor for this. It’s been very demanding but enjoyable,” he said.

“I wanted to give something back to the school and Mr Tucker thought it was a great idea. I have got enjoyment from helping people throughout the school.”

Ben is supported by psychology teacher Samantha Harris, a former Samaritan at the Swindon branch, who helps coach mentors.

She said: “I was asked to help Ben Purkiss to help coach the kids to be a good mentor, to make sure the children are well cared for and bring it all together but Ben has really led the way.

“The mentors get a great chance to have ownership on the support the students receive. It allows them to get involved and they know they are making a difference in the younger years and create a community atmosphere in the school.

“It’s great experience for them for the future. We want to give them coaching skills so mentors can encourage individuals to build their confidence.”