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With each of our City Year Mentors giving around 1,640 hours and typically serving alongside four or more others, a City Year UK team has the time and expertise to connect with pupils to support them to succeed. Learn about their impact in schools in 2021 to 2022

  • Why connecting is important

Pupils learn better when they feel physically and emotionally safe and connected to at least one adult. That is our volunteers’ goal. They gain trust, can find out the root causes of attendance avoidance or disruptive behaviour and show pupils what they are capable of.

“Every problem can be solved with a little love, guidance and care.” – City Year Mentor

  • What connecting means

Connecting means coaching pupils to solve problems, work with others, form friendships, express ideas, learn from mistakes and manage their emotions, at the same time as tutoring academic or ‘cognitive’ skills.

Our City Years have been our saviour! They have all worked in their own unique way to help light up the corridors. They have been so supportive around the academy and great listeners, kind hearted and created amazing opportunities for students."

Teacher Partner school

“City Years help you find out who you are”

Five years on, Ama explains the difference that City Year UK made to her school and reflects on the lasting impact of her connection with three mentors.

City Year is the best thing that has happened this year. They made it fun with someone to speak to.” –Pupil
impact on focus list FY22 infographic

“It makes such a difference to have Miss O [City Year Mentor] in the classroom. She has established good connections with students and can support them confidently. It also helps if they need re- focusing or reshaping to complete a task. Working within the lower sets is all about establishing a positive relationship with the students before you can do anything else. She also understands when to intervene – I don’t know what I would do without her help in lessons!” –Teacher, partner school

How we measure social and emotional skills

Our young adults are trained to observe focus list pupils across 8 competencies on a termly basis using the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA). We then calculate a composite social-emotional rating with pupils categorised as showing ‘strength’, as ‘typical’ or flagged as in ‘need’. The appropriate support is then tailored accordingly.

  • DESSA competencies:

DESSA icons






“Mohima [City Year Mentor] has been invaluable for supporting A, particularly when he is not able to regulate his emotions.” –Teacher, partner school


  • DESSA Outcomes

In 2021-22, between terms 1 and 3, the number of focus list pupils supported by City Year UK showing ‘need’ fell by 41% from 254 to 149 pupils. The number showing overall ‘strength’ doubled to 50 from 25.

“My mentor is really helpful. I would not have got to the point I am at with teachers and other students without her help, not just academically but emotionally.” –Pupil

Integrated learning in practice

Emma, a City Year Mentor in Greater Manchester explains how she was able to chart one of her focus-list pupil’s extraordinary progress through a range of measurement tools covering social and emotional skills, behaviour, attendance and curriculum attainment

My mentor always helps me when I’m down or struggling. She is always giving me advice to help fix my problems and I am going to miss her.

Pupil Partner school

Impact on the whole school

We place a lot of emphasis on the difference City Year Mentors make to individual pupils but that is only half the story. Their impact reaches far beyond their focus list.

“My Year 11 class really benefited from Charlie’s [City Year Mentor] presence. He was a motivator, enthusiastic and super helpful. He has been instrumental in the overall progress of the class and enjoyment of our subject because he got so involved and assisted many students.” –Teacher, partner school

Infographic annual report 2021-22 website - clubs and initiatives updated

Every school should invest in City Year. City Year has made such an impact in the school and the students’ lives.

Teacher Partner school
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