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St John the Baptist’s College, Portadown

Student Support/Mentoring


Learning Mentor

The Learning Mentor provides support and guidance to help pupils who are experiencing difficulties in learning. Working on a one-to-one or small group basis with pupils from all year groups, provision is tailored to the needs of the child in order that every child can reach their full potential. 

As a BACP Registered Counsellor and teaching professional, the Learning Mentor support may be via:

  • 1:1 sessions
  • Small Group work
  • Art therapy sessions
  • Counselling sessions
  • Study skills sessions
  • Self-esteem and self-confidence development
  • Relaxation
  • Life Skills
  • Social skill board games programmes and games
  • Behaviour management programmes
  • Target setting/Meet at the end of the day to monitor
  • Liaising with families to encourage support
  • Drop in sessions
  • Acting as pupil`s representatives
  • Providing opportunities for children to talk in confidence


Counselling Services

The school has an onsite counsellor, funded by the EA, which pupils can avail of once a week on a Tuesday. Pupils are able to make appointments with Arno to discuss anything that may be concerning them in a quiet, confidential and safe space.


REACH Engagement

St. John's has built up a strong partnership with REACH Mentoring over the past number of years. REACH provide group workshops and one-on-one mentoring to pupils to build confidence and promote positive mental health. Pupils can be referred to REACH after careful consultation with their parents or guardians and that pupil is then assigned a REACH mentor. The mentor will meet with the pupil once a week in school to chat, play games and offer encouragement, advice and support as they work through their concerns and difficulties.

From the REACH website: "Partnering with local schools to empower young people to be the best version of themselves". 


ASPIRE Programme

ASPIRE is a faith driven charity which seeks to bridge gaps in education by providing children from low-income families with the tools they need to take ownership of their own learning. Pupils who take part in the ASPIRE Programme attend meetings once a week and are provided with a laptop, stationery and a quiet place to work.


Student Mentoring

As well as having links with various outside mentoring agencies, SJBC also runs it's own mentoring system in school. Pupils participate in the 'buddy system' where Year 8 pupils are 'buddied' with an older pupil to help them navigate the school until they are settled in. We also have a 'Buddy Bench' system in place at breaktime and lunchtime for pupils who are struggling to make friends or who just want to meet new people outside of their friendship group. The buddy bench is clearly marked in the school playground and pupils can go there and speak to designated buddies.

In addition, our school council system ensures that each class has a prefect/class representative who pupils can approach with issues or problems that they would like to be addressed at the next student council meeting. Pupil voice is very important in SJBC and we want our pupils to know that they can make positive changes through the power of the student council.


Nurture Centre

The St. John the Baptist's College Nurture Centre is a unique structure within the school that caters to the needs of pupils who have emotional or social difficulties. Placement in the Nurture Centre ensures that a pupil will receive additional support with the transition from primary to post-primary and will be mentored and taught strategies to help them cope with any anxieties or issues they have. For more information on our Nurture Centre, please click here.

Spiritual Guidance

As a Catholic post-primary school, Saint John the Baptist’s College welcomes the support and assistance of our parish clergy Canon M Toner and Fr P Clarke.  During the academic year our pupils join together in worship in St John the Baptist Church, both as a whole school and as participants in the Catholic Schools’ Week liturgy along with other primary and post primary schools throughout the Archdiocese.

We also appreciate the help and guidance given to our school by Fr Declan O’Loughlin the Diocesan Advisor for RE in the Archdiocese of Armagh.

In recent years Saint John the Baptist College has had the support of the Portadown Knights of Columbanus, and we hope to further develop these links in the years to come.