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Mariyah and X’s City Year story

Back to Impact Report 2022-23

Mariyah explains how she mentored, coached and tutored a Year 10 student, X, to believe that he can succeed at school. In the process, she has become a leader.


“When I first met X, he was getting detentions and often suspended for persistent disruptive behaviour. He had given up on his education and didn’t have any aspirations. His attendance was dropping, leading to frustration in lessons as he didn’t understand what was being taught. His behaviour was causing issues for the rest of the class and frustration and anger led to difficulties at home, as well as school.

“Initially, we did a lot of work 1:1 and in small groups to help with classroom expectations and to catch up on all the missed work, as well as helping with self-reflection and managing his reaction to stressful situations.  Fidget toys have worked really well and he attended voluntary after-school sessions with me.

“X is much more engaged in his learning now. He comes to me with questions and advice on what he needs to do to develop further. He is finally proud of what he is achieving, recognises his growth and looks forward to sharing his report with teachers or telling mum about the work he is doing in school. He is a lot more positive. In the past, our Monday morning conversations were around something stressful or frustrating over the weekend but he is able to recognise and share positive experiences much more now.”

What X’s teachers said:

“X has gone from a student I felt was, to be honest, ‘unteachable’ to someone who we have a fighting chance with. He has tried so, so hard with his BTEC controlled assessments and this is entirely down to the hard work and determination of Mariyah.”

“I’ve seen a huge improvement in his engagement in lessons and general behaviour as a result of Mariyah’s hard work. Constant communication with home, having high expectations and giving him strategies to manage his behaviours when he is being distracted have all really helped and we have started to see a huge improvement in how X is tackling school work.”

Mariyah adds:

“I started my journey with no work experience, lacking employability skills, no university degree and an overwhelming feeling of imposter syndrome. At first, my intention was simply to give back to the community and support the students with their education. Little did I know that this opportunity would become a catalyst for my own growth as a leader.

“I am grateful for the opportunity City Year has provided me to make a meaningful impact on young lives, to be a beacon of hope and to show them that they are not alone.”

City Year UK’s double benefit

The support and connection that pupils need – the positive relationships, growth mindset and sense of belonging – correspond to those that help mentors to be and feel successful. As Mariyah’s experience shows, by establishing a rapport with pupils and discovering their strengths, mentors often reveal their own.

In September 2023, Mariyah started as a pastoral assistant at the same school.

“I really like that Miss Mariyah has moved from being with City Year to now being staff. She listens to me.” 

 –Year 9 pupil 

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