The Science Department, St Bernard’s Catholic High School

Coaching vs Mentoring in Schools: What Works Best for Pupils to Boost GCSE Grades?

Coaching vs Mentoring Pupils in Schools: The Great Experiment

Hypothesis: If students are coached will they make better progress than if they are mentored?


  • 20 x Year 10 students (C/D borderline in science)
  • 4 x Coaches (trained in the Coachinginschools.com system)
  • 2 x Mentors
  • Science IEP
  • Work Booklets
  • Target & Monitoring Sheets
  • AQA Results Analysis


1). 20 students were identified by the Science department to move from E or D (2-3) grades in their June GCSE Exam to C (4-5) grades in their January re-sit

2). Students were divided into 2 groups: 11 were coached & 9 were mentored

3). Parents were invited to a meeting where the Head of Department explained the process

4). Science IEPs were given out for Students and Parents to sign

5). Each intervention student was allocated a coach

6). Weekly meetings of 20-40 minutes took place and students were able to request extra meetings if required.


  • Coached students: 7 out of 11 achieved C grades (63.64%) and the other 4 students all improved their target grades because of the coaching they received. Confidence increased significantly because they weren’t told what to do. And pupils began coming up with goals, ideas and action steps on their own. Teacher coaches found this approach far more manageable than mentoring because it involved a lot less preparation and pressure on them.
  • Mentored students: 9 should have attended the sessions, but only 6 continued to attend – 3 of these improved to grade C (33.33%), 2 stayed at grade D – but improved overall UMS marks by 25. One improved to a D – UMS marks 59 improved to 218 – but this was because she joined the school late and had sat only one module in the first place.

Conclusion: Coaching pupils using the Coachinginschools Coaching System worked FAR more effectively (and it was far more manageable for staff) than mentoring pupils.

Congratulations to St Bernard’s Science Department for their remarkable success coaching pupils. Thank you for sharing your results and “Coaching vs Mentoring – Experiment” with us. 

We’d also like to thank and give a special mention to Katie Galvaey who conducted this research task into Coaching vs Mentoring pupils as part of an M.A. in Education