`Learning mentors' for 450 schools

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The Independent Online
THE GOVERNMENT is taking on 800 of the new "learning mentors" over the next two years. They will be staff with full-time troubleshooting roles in 450 schools covered by Labour's "excellence in cities" initiative, designed to raise standards in urban areas.

They will not teach, although most are expected to be qualified teachers.

Mentors will work to help children who have problems at home and save classroom teachers from the combined roles of counsellor, social worker and financial advisor.

Ministers hope the appointments will help raise standards and help to cut truancy, arguing that many teachers are diverted from the blackboard to sort out their pupils' problems.

But they also hope the mentors will help the brightest children by showing them how to make the best use of their abilities.