Study information for young people


What is the study?

The purpose of this study is to see if offering Breakthrough mentoring helps improve young people’s health, well-being and educational outcomes.
We aim to recruit approximately 20 students aged 11-16 years attending secondary schools into the study. Half will receive a mentor for the coming school year and the other half will not so that we can compare those two groups. In the research field, this is called a “randomised controlled trial”. What this means is who receives a mentor and who does not is decided by a process called “randomisation”. Although we use a computer to conduct this randomisation, it is a process of luck, just like tossing a coin with heads you receive a mentor and tails you do not. The reason for doing this is that it means that the two groups (the group that receives a mentor and the group that does not) are the same at the start of the research. 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 students will continue to receive all the usual help that they get from school.

Why have I been selected to take part in this research study?

You have been selected by your school because they think you might benefit from having a mentor. A mentor is an adult that will spend time and do fun activities with young people like yourself outside of school.

What do I have to do?

If you agree to take part in the research study you will be asked to:
  • Fill in a questionnaire at the start of the study and then at 6, 12 and 18 months. The questionnaire asks questions about your feelings and health and will take about 20 minutes to complete.
  • We will ask you to fill in a brief form to record your activities (e.g. sports, youth clubs).
  • Agree to be selected to one of two groups: One will receive a mentor and the other group will not. We will do this by a process called randomisation which is like tossing a coin. You have a 1 in 2 chance, or put another way a 50% chance, of getting a mentor.
  • We will ask you to participate in two interviews with researchers from the University of Bristol at 6 and 12 months. In these interviews we will ask you about your experiences of being involved in the study. The interview should take no more than an hour.

What do I get?

  • You have the chance to participate in this research project and to tell us about your experiences.
  • Each time you fill in a questionnaire or take part in an interview we will give you £15 gift voucher. Whether you receive a mentor or not, you will still receive the vouchers.
  • You have a 1 in 2 (50%) chance of getting a mentor who will then hang out with you in the next school year. The mentor will also do activities with you that you like. When you meet your mentor, you can decide what activities you want to do together and you can decide on how often you would like to meet.
  • If you receive a mentor, we will ask you to tell us more about your interests so that a suitable mentor can be found for you. When you meet your mentor, you can decide on where you want to meet and how often. Mentoring usually takes place in school time and outside of the school grounds.

Is the study confidential?

Yes, all your information will be kept strictly confidential which means that your teachers and your parents/guardians will not see them. The information will be used only for the purposes of this study. Any detail which could identify you as an individual will be removed. Only a small number of the research team will have access to your information and data will be stored on University password protected computers. The only time we may have to break this confidentiality is if we think your health or safety is in danger. If this happens we will discuss this with you first.

Can I choose to stop my participation?

Yes, you can stop at any time without having to give a reason.

What will happen to the results of the study?

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

Who is funding this study?

This study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s School for Public Health Research (NIHR SPHR).

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 want to get to know more about the study, please contact Dr Angela Beattie on 0117 928 7351 or email:



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