Study information for schools


What is the 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. This study 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. 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.

What does it involve?

Schools that take part in the study are asked to identify 20 eligible students aged 11 to 16 years that they believe might benefit from mentoring. Schools will also be asked to send out letters and information sheets to parents/guardians of those identified students seeking parental consent for their child to take part in the study. As part of our evaluation, we also would like to speak to some school staff members to help us understand more about Breakthrough mentoring.

What are the benefits for our school to take part?

Involvement in the study can be presented, for example, to Ofsted as work that complements ongoing efforts towards promoting students’ health and wellbeing. This study also aims to complement an initiative entitled “Healthy Schools” as it seeks to explore further ways of promoting health and wellbeing in students..

What will be measured in the study and how will the measurements be conducted?

Participants in this feasibility study will be asked to complete a questionnaire about their health and feelings and will be asked to take part in interviews with researchers from the University of Bristol.

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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