Mentor education and development in the Further Education sector in England

Project Details


Previous research has established that the mentoring of teachers and lecturers in schools and colleges tends to be more effective where mentors are able to take advantage of appropriate opportunities for initial mentor preparationandongoing development (Bullough, 2005; Hobson et al., 2009; Hobson et al., 2015; Lejonberg et al., 2015). While some studies (for example, Fransson, 2016) identify positive impacts of mentors undertaking or gaining formal mentoring qualifications or accreditation, the evidence base is inconclusive on the added value of formal mentoring qualifications and accreditation, over and above effective non-accredited mentor preparation, training and development.

This study, commissioned by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, sought to investigate issues relating to the education and development of mentors of teachers and lecturers in the Further Education (FE) sector in England.

The research involved the following elements:

> a secondary analysis of interview transcripts from the earlier Mentoring in Further Education and Mentoring across Professions projects (Hobson et al., 2015; Hobson et al., 2016)
> desk research involving, predominantly, internet searches of potential providers of mentoring qualifications and professional recognition schemes
email communications with key stakeholders (leading academics in mentoring and coaching, and mentor education and training providers) to provide leads to relevant qualifications and accreditation programmes
> telephone interviews with selected HEI- and non-HEI providers of mentoring qualifications and accreditation schemes, to clarify information discovered on websites and discuss the nature and impact of mentor training, education and accreditation courses with which they were familiar
> an online national survey of University leads for FE ITE providers in England
> an online national survey of mentors in FE Colleges across England.

The project sought to examine:

> the nature, take-up and perceived impact of mentor training, education and CPD
the availability of general and teacher-specific mentoring qualifications and accreditation to mentors in the English FE sector
> the extent to which mentoring qualifications or accreditation are provided or recommended by university or college providers of FE ITE
> the potential added value of mentors undertaking formal mentoring qualifications or accreditation, over and above non-accredited forms of mentor training and development
> barriers to the provision and take-up of training, education and CPD for mentors of teachers/lecturers in the FE sector in England.

Key findings

The standard of mentoring in the FE sector is highly variable. This is largely because the quality and take-up of mentor training, development and CPD in the sector is also highly variable.

Effective mentor training, development or CPD is vital to ensure high quality mentoring, and has a positive impact on the learning, development, effectiveness, wellbeing and retention of both mentees and mentors.

All mentors and coaches of trainee, early career and more experienced teachers within the sector should undertake appropriate mentor/coach training: research has established that good teachers and lecturers do not necessarily make good mentors and coaches.

Data suggest that having mentors undertake a formal qualification or accreditation in mentoring can provide additional value to the impact of effective non-accredited mentor training, but the evidence is not conclusive and further research is required on this question.

Robinson, C. & Hobson, A.J. (2017) Mentor Education and Development in the Further Education sector in England. (Research report for Gatsby Charitable Foundation) University of Brighton: Education Research Centre.
Effective start/end date1/01/1631/12/17


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