Each year, undergraduate students from the University of Liverpool, plus other universities across the region, come to Birkenhead Sixth Form College to act as Academic Mentors to our A Level students in a variety of subjects.

Working alongside the expert subject teachers at the College, the Mentors are in the unique position to give an insight into the demands of university and the subject at hand, as they are all currently studying in that particular area for their degrees. They can also offer peer-to-peer advice as they have very recently been in the position of our A Level students.

"In some instances, we’ve had students moving up two grades, so it’s making a significant impact with their confidence and their academic ability."

The scheme is led by Birkenhead Sixth Form College Sociology teacher, Claire Morgan. After piloting the programme in her own subject three years ago with two undergraduate volunteers, the benefits to the students were so apparent that more Mentors were taken on in other departments, totalling 16 in 2015-16. Currently, well over 40 undergraduates in Geography, History, Law, Sociology, Sport and more are expected to join the College across this academic year.

The University of Liverpool’s Faculty of Geography have now accredited their student’s participation in the Mentor project and the option can make up part of their degree course.

Programme leader, Claire, said: “In Sociology, we saw a real improvement, and we’re talking grades. In some instances, we’ve had students moving up two grades, so it’s making a significant impact with their confidence and their academic ability.

“We like to focus on exam technique and revising. Some of the mentors like to do mind-maps with them and really try to get them to add depth and detail to increase their marks. With some students that aren’t as strong, they found that working on key terms is important and help them to revise in that one-to-one environment – quizzing and testing to help build their confidence.”