A headteacher has praised a scheme which sees students mentor deprived and disadvantaged children.

The Stepping Stones project at Gladesmore Community School in South Tottenham was given a slice of the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s £750,000 fund.

The programme, which began last year and was trialled by the school, sees Year 10 pupils mentoring Year 7 pupils to help them integrate into high school and stop them becoming disengaged and drawn into crime.

Mr Khan visited the school with London Assembly member for Enfield and Haringey this morning.

Tony Hartney, the headteacher of the school praised the programme for its “positive” impact on the school.

Mr Hartney said: “It’s a different way of reaching out to children.

“They can get advice not just from their parents but from older students and this can be a very positive way to help year seven children deal with challenges or problems.”

Year 7 children who are mentored receive tuition in maths and English as well as benefitting from career workshops and non-academic peer-mentoring to help them integrate into school and make friends.

Mr Hartney claims there has been an improvement in maths and English amongst Year 7 pupils, as well as better confidence and attendance levels.

He also praised the Year 10 mentors for “getting young people engaged”.

He added: “It has benefited Year 10s by giving them additional responsibility and given them confidence.

“The older students really stepped into the role by being excellent ambassadors and role models.”

Over the last 18 months Mr Hartney said that 100 year seven pupils out of 250 participated and 30 pupils from year ten.

This year he expects numbers to be even higher.

He is “delighted” the project will be expanded to other schools and added.

He added: “This is a superb initiative that has proved to be effective in combating disaffection and transforming attitudes to education and learning.

“I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

Mr Khan said: “Massive Government cuts have decimated youth programmes and there are now far fewer opportunities like this for young people, making it all too easy for them to make poor choices.

“As Mayor, I am determined to give those that work hard a helping hand and that means providing opportunities to support young people so they make the right choices in life and fulfil their potential.”