Study information for Parents/Guardians


What is purpose of the study?

The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether providing Breakthrough mentoring helps improve young people’s health, well-being and educational outcomes.

Who is leading the study?

The study is led by Professor Rona Campbell, managed by Dr Angela Beattie both from the University of Bristol, in collaboration with Mr Steve Spiers, Breakthrough Mentoring Manager, South Gloucestershire Council and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s School for Public Health Research (NIHR SPHR;

What is the study?

To evaluate the Breakthrough mentoring programme, we will undertake what is called a pilot randomised controlled trial. This means that, with the help of the school(s), 20 young people who it is thought might benefit from mentoring, and whose parents have consented to their participation in the research, will be randomly allocated to either receive a mentor for the coming school year (intervention group) or will be allocated not to receive a mentor (care as usual group). This is undertaken by a process called randomisation which is like tossing a coin. This means that your child has a 1 in 2 chance, or put another way, a 50% chance of getting a mentor. Later we will look closely at both groups to see if there are any differences. However, as this is a feasibility study, sometimes called a ‘pilot,’ we would need to conduct a further larger study to check if these differences were related to mentoring. All young people will also continue to receive the care and support that is normally provided by the school.

Why has my child been selected to take part in the project?

Your child has been identified by the school as someone who could potentially benefit from having a mentor.

What does it involve for my child?

We will ask all study participants to fill in a questionnaire and to keep a record of their activities (e.g. sports, youth clubs). The questionnaire asks about their feelings and health and will about 20 minutes to complete. We will also ask students to take part in two interviews with staff members of the University of Bristol.

What are the benefits for my child to take part?

Your child has a 1 in 2 or 50% chance of being provided with a mentor for a school year. This mentor will undertake activities with your child and the kind of activities will be agreed together. Each time your child meets a researcher to either fill in a questionnaire or to take part in an interview your child will be given a £15 gift voucher. By consenting your child to participate, your child will also be part of the research project and will have a chance to experience research and to see what researchers do.

If my child is selected to receive a mentor, will I need to pay for this?

No, the school your child attends will pay the costs for the mentoring service.

What does it involve for me?

If you agree for your child to take part in the study, we will ask you to complete a consent form for your child. As part of our evaluation we are also seeking to speak to some parents/guardians to help us understand more about Breakthrough mentoring and to hear about your views on the research project. All your information will be kept strictly confidential and will be used only for the purposes of this study.

What will happen to the results of the study?

The results of this study will be shared as widely as possible in policy, educational and public health journals, newsletters and by presenting the results at conferences. We will also make the results accessible to all the schools and councils involved in the study.

Who has reviewed this study?

This research has been reviewed by an independent group of people, called the Faculty Ethics Committee, University of Bristol.

How can I find out more information?

If you wish to know more about the study, please contact Dr Angela Beattie on 0117 928 7351 or email:

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