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University students are offering guidance to college students who, in turn, will share their knowledge with secondary school pupils in a new chain mentoring scheme. 'Portsmouth Scholars', a scheme to help and encourage young people thinking about university study, launched at Portsmouth College this week.

The partnership between the University of Portsmouth and Portsmouth College aims to help pupils progress from school to college to higher education.

The first phase of the scheme sees university students and learning development tutors visiting young people at the college and supporting them in studies including maths, physics, sociology, psychology, law, biology and economics. The one-to-one and small group sessions can also cover revision techniques, university applications and university life.

Tania Tahmina, 19, is one of the University of Portsmouth students who has been mentoring at the college. She said: “I like to think that I’m giving something back. No one in my family has gone to university before and I didn’t know much about applying, so I would have really liked something like this.”

Charis Almond, 17, is one of 55 Portsmouth College pupils signed up to the scheme. She said: “It’s helpful to talk to someone who’s not that much older than me because they’ve experienced very similar things recently. They can help with areas of the subject I’m not so comfortable with and talk about uni life. It’s great because this is all so new for us.”

Phase two, where college and university students visit year 10 and 11 pupils at city secondary schools, will begin after Christmas. It is hoped that the scheme will eventually extend to younger pupils.

Portsmouth College Deputy Principal, Simon Barrable, said:

This is about raising aspirations around higher education. It’s helpful for students to spend time with undergraduates who can offer them extra time on a one-to-one or group basis and who understand the pressures of A-levels because they have experienced that it in the last few years.”

portsmouth scholars

University of Portsmouth Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Hayes, said:

This project is one of the ways in which we aim to demystify higher education for potential students, some of whom perhaps come from families where there is no experience of higher education. 

One of the best ways to do that is to work with young people who have recently undergone the transition to higher education. As mentors, they can talk about what life is like at university and how you get there and also provide support with aspects of academic work.

You then have the mentorship cascade where the college students go out to schools, offering guidance and support.”

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