PREFECTS have launched a peer project at their academy to help younger students adjust to school life, as a lasting legacy of the good work of senior pupils.
Year 11 prefects at Haughton Academy, Darlington, came up with the idea to help students who may have insecurities after moving from primary to secondary school.
They are currently helping mainly year 7 and 8 pupils who find it difficult to express their concerns to adult members of staff.
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And the project, one of a number of community initiatives led by prefects, is countering negative perceptions often associated with young people which tend to be caused by the behaviour of a tiny minority.
Peer mentor sessions are held at lunchtime on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday but prefects also make themselves available if they are approached at any time in the corridors.
Year 11 manager Marc Symington said: “The prefects came up with the idea and it is proving to be really effective at helping children who might be reluctant to talk to an adult.
“We have always had a prefect system but this year they wanted to do something more, something their way and leave a lasting legacy of the good work carried out by the majority of young people.”
Head boy Jacob Monks said: “We listen to students’ concerns and quite often it’s just a case of building their confidence and their self-esteem.
"If it is more serious then we make sure they get the help they need.”
Head girl Francesco Austin said: “We get about 10 to 15 students regularly turning up and because we have built good relationships with them they are more likely to open up to us.
“Having someone older looking out for them makes them feel more comfortable at school.”