What is Assertive Mentoring?



Thank you for taking an interest in the Bucksburn Academy Programme of Assertive Mentoring.  Please do not hesitate to make contact with the school should you have further questions.

Assertive Mentoring is designed to encourage learners at Bucksburn Academy to aim high and be all they can be.  Statistical data and feedback from everyone involved in the programme suggests that Assertive Mentoring helps in this aim.



In 2006, following a presentation on Mentoring from Hurworth School in the North of England, the Leadership Team embarked on a pilot Assertive Mentoring programme for all S5 learners.  This programme took on both existing and new ideas and the pilot was a great success.  Since the 2006, Assertive Mentoring has become an integral part of Aspirational academic life for all S4 – S6 learners.

Part of the success of Assertive Mentoring is down to OnTheButton technology used by the school.  OnTheButton  is a highly flexible software package providing Positive Behaviour Solutions, Attendance & Incident Recording, Communication, Reporting and Mentoring functions.

From the outset robust statistical data has been collected to allow us to monitor both the effectiveness of the Programme and the extent to which value is being added for our learners; whether they are aspiring to achieve their fullest potential.

Assertive Mentoring is a technique for trying to get the best results possible for our learners and involves setting Aspirational Targets – Aspirational means the very best that learners can achieve based on their ability and all previous performances in school.


  1.  Every learner from S4 to S6 is set an Aspirational Target for each of their subjects.  This target is set using a robust, trusted formula based on key data – MidYis predictions, Grade Point Average and Prior Performance in the subject.  It is key that the same Apirational Target setting formula is used to allow analysis.
  2.  Every six weeks the class teachers of S4 – S6 use OnTheButton  to assess whether the learner is Above Target, On Target or Below Target.  They then include a short note which provides feedback on how improvements can be made.
  3.  Every learner is allocated to a Mentor.  The Mentor is a volunteer member of staff with a caseload of six learners.
  4.  The Mentor will meet with the learner once all class teacher feedback has been completed and have a ten minute one-to-one meeting.  During the session, the Mentor encourages the learner to reflect and consider their progress in each of their subjects; where there have been successes and challenges, whether they might be Above Target, On Target or Below Target, and why this might be.  The role of the Mentor is to use the class teacher inforation to validate or confirm the learner responses and then work with the learner to agree actions which will support an improvement.
  5.  Over the course of the year, these Teacher Check Weeks and Mentor Meetings will offer an overview of progress.  All staff have access to this information and therefore interventions can be made by Class Teacher Faculty Head, Pupil Support or Senior Management.
  6. Information on Class Teacher A/O/B and comment is fed back by email to parents after each round of Mentoring.




When exam results become available in early August, an analysis is carried out.  For each result, the difference is measured between the Aspirational Target and the final exam result.  This allows an overview of the average difference for  learner or cohort (It will always desirable to have an Aspirational Gap).



A partial screenshot from OnTheButton showing how information is built up over the course of a year.




In 2013/14, annual reports for S4-S6 were replaced by a system of Live Reports, based on data from the Assertive Mentoring Programme.  At the end of each mentoring cycle, teacher feedback against the Aspirational Targets together with brief comments are emailed home.  This process is repeated four times during the course of the academic year.  Having been through one full year of Live Reports, it is clear from speaking to learners, parents and teachers that this has been a positive step:-

* learners continue to be clear about next steps and become involved in positive discussions about their learning at home.

* parents are involved in the triangulation process and are kept up-to-date with learner progress.

* class teachers have a chance to contribute towards the progress of learners.



In 2014-15, we are introducing a modified form of Live Reports to our S3 cohort, to support them in preparing for the Senior Phase.  On three occasions, parents and carers of S3 learners will receive a Live Report providing timely feedback on progress against expectation with specific next steps for learning identified.

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