TFTF Curriculum Dive

Our TFTF mentors have really enjoyed settling into schools, getting to know the students that they will be working with and meeting other key members of staff. This has helped them to incorporate themselves fully into the school environment, thus enhancing their understanding of their school ethos, values and how to navigate the kettle!

With mentor-mentee relationships being crucial for the success of the provision, the first five sessions of the TFTF curriculum are designed to help our mentors get to know students, set clear goals, establish expectations, and build a rapport from the first day. During the first week, TFTF mentors deliver 'About Me', a session which involves sharing stories, experiences, and barriers that they have overcome in their lives. This helps to build a positive rapport and establish clear boundaries and expectations which lay the foundation for a successful intervention.

The second session gives students a chance to open up about their own experiences, such as what drives them to succeed, what their goals are, and what barriers to learning they might face. Our mentors guide students to set personal goals and targets for the academic year, which they support students to achieve throughout the year, using the TFTF Impact Portal to monitor progress (The TFTF Impact Portal)

An expectation of a TFTF mentoring session is respectful communication therefore during the third week, we explore the importance of communication and how different people in our lives communicate. A range of games and group discussions are used to engage students and challenge their thinking on how they can adapt their own communication style to build better relationships. Evaluation of learning and a clear link to in school behaviour is achieved in a plenary activity, where students are able to reflect on their communications style in the school environment.

The fourth session in the introductory curriculum focuses on Respect, where the learning outcome is students developing an understanding of the meaning of respect and how respect can be shown to different people that they will come in to contact with in life. This session sparks an open dialogue where students work collaboratively to explore how they can be more respectful and learn about the potential consequences of not being respectful towards different people in their lives. A range of whiteboard activities, insightful videos, and independent work is incorporated in session four to support the learning aims and outcomes.

The purpose of the fifth session is to identify ways to build resilience to deal constructively with criticism and disrespect. This session explores why resilience is important to students and they are given the opportunity to come up with their own strategies to deal with criticism and overcome difficult situations in a respectful and resilient manner. Our TFTF Mentor, Ryan Hewett - who works with students in the Northamptonshire area recently had a breakthrough moment with students in this session.

When describing the session five, Ryan stated "In this session, a lot of the students got emotional whilst exploring their own attitudes to resilience and creating their own personal strategies It was a huge breakthrough for a group that have been struggling with respect and resilience in the last few weeks. We took part in a group activity where we wrote emotions relating to school on a post it note. Students had three options of how to approach how they were feeling:

1 - Rip it up and put it in the bin these emotions weren’t worth our time anymore

2 - Pass on to the mentor and tutor so they can directly support

3 - Anonymously share on the resilience board (see image below) so we can indirectly support each other as a group and be empowered by realising our emotions ."

This highlights the impact the introductory curriculum has on creating a collaborative and open setting for students who usually struggle with anger and find it difficult to express emotions. This breakthrough session is a great reminder that all pupils have the potential to be empathetic and respectful and with a committed and relatable role model students can break down barriers to learning that are holding them back!

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