Into the Mix - keep mixing!
PIE’s Into the Mix Programme started its second year in March! It is running across 3 schools this year - Rayner Stephens High School, All Saints Catholic College and Hyde High School - all in Tameside. This project runs with funding from Co-Op Foundation and #iwill.
Caroline, (PIE) who delivered sessions at Rayner Stephens & Hyde, said, “The 2 new schools have welcomed us in with open arms and the young people we have worked with have been fantastic! At the school I have continued to work with it has been fantastic to see some young people grow and develop into peer mentors.”
Beth, PIE Founder, said, “It has been great to run the Into the Mix project for the second year, and to welcome two new schools to the programme. After the disruption of the programme due to Covid last year, it has been amazing to see the young people working consistently together over the past few months, coming together to help others around them."
Antony, (PIE) who delivered the sessions at All Saints, said, “It has been a truly unique and rewarding experience for me to return to my old high school and work with the talented and welcoming Year 7 and 8 students. They have become excellent, responsible Peer Mentors and shared so much of themselves with the Year 6s and the group. Seeing them put their skills into action at the feeder primary schools has been excellent, and I know the future Year 7s will be feeling thankful and ready for their next steps at All Saints. Big thank you also to Ms Burton for all of her help and encouragement!”
Stage One saw 60 young people (ages 11-13) training to become peer mentors. This involved learning some strategies about how to relate to others and support those younger than themselves. As part of their training, they completed random acts of kindness to help develop empathy and project management skills:
- Rayner Stephens – these students created Easter Egg baskets with Easter Eggs, daffodils and cards, shared with their local heroes – ambulance and fire station, other NHS staff.
- Hyde – here the peer mentors created 25 recipe boxes containing a recipe card and the ingredients to make a meal for family, this was shared with the pastoral team who identified families this would benefit.
- All Saints – students made little care packages for teachers during the Easter Term, to recognise their contributions.
Two of the three schools (the third visit will be in September!) have visited our friends at Sharp Project. The peer mentors have since been working hard to design Transition Workshops for Year 6 students from local feeder schools, which were run for over 200 local Year 6 students in June! Goody bags were planned & packed and activities they planned included:
Tour of the school
Giant Jenga with riddles and would you rather questions,
Corners game based on the SDG’s,
Design a new school badge,
Small group sessions with time for Q & A,
Toilet paper ice breakers… to name a few!
Staff within the schools have also noticed a positive impact with their students, and had this to say:
Zoe (from Rayner Stephens) said, "The Into The Mix programme has been invaluable to us this year. The training given to our students has been outstanding and the relationship that Caroline was able to build up so quickly with the group definitely helped this. The students have really grown in confidence since the start of the programme and are able to articulate clearly their plans and rationale for their thoughts behind their ideas for our peer mentor work.
For us as a school it has been a great programme to allow students to work directly with our feeder primary schools to develop links and relationships with our new students. This will undoubtedly become key for us in September as our new students will already have established relationships with our peer mentors allowing them to settle into school much easier than they would do normally."
Martine (from All Saints) told us, "Some of the students chosen for the PIE programme was to give them a focus and to help them improve their behaviour. Due to the sessions run, I feel they did have less behaviour issues due to learning new skills and improving confidence.
The students have benefited positively from working with PIE and have become more confident in themselves and shown leadership skills around school."
Sean (from Hyde High School) had this to say, "We have worked with PIE UK for a number of years now and this project, Into the Mix, is a continuation of the brilliant provision they offer to our students. Our Y7 and Y8 students are thrilled with how they have learned mentoring skills and worked collaboratively to plan events and activities that benefit younger students joining us as part of transition and are very much looking forward to playing their part in contributing to their wider community in a positive way. The last few years have seen so many enrichment and development opportunities denied to these learners and PIE UK are brilliant at creating these experiences and developing skills beyond the classroom. PIE UK are passionate about what they do, really engage students and are always professional to work with. We count ourselves lucky to be a partner school."
What a busy term! We're really please with the partnerships we've forged and the we can't wait to see our amazing peer mentors in action in the next stages, undertaking social action and supporting others further...