Young people are going back to their old school to inspire the next generation and help them reach their potential.

After-school study sessions are on most school timetables, but at Westhoughton High School former pupils who are now in college are coming to help coach the schoolchildren alongside teachers.

And the scheme is proving to be a huge success, with pupils saying they have noticed their grades improving.

The pupils say they can relate to the ex-students and more pupils now want to attend.

Teacher Chris Atherton runs the sessions.

He said: “These sessions are called D6 which stands for day six and the idea behind the D6 is to get the students to reflect on and change their ideas on learning.

“So, it is social and psychological in nature, it is designed to improve academic success by altering how students think and feel about themselves and their school work.

 “These sessions offer high impact for low cost. 

"The former pupils have each undertaken 15 hours of online training with the national tutoring programme before they started, and in that they learn metacognitive strategies to help the students think about how they are learning and not just about the learning.

“It is early days at the moment, and we have only been going since about February time, but the numbers have been steadily increasing.

“The after-school tutors have a unique approach that someone of my age and my background probably wouldn’t have because they have just gone through their GCSEs quite recently so they can relate to the students with what they are going through, and they offer great explanations when teaching.

“There has been extensive research on these sessions that shows it does provide impact.

“It is not compulsory for pupils to attend but we get some pupils who stay right to the end at 6pm and they don’t want to leave when the time is up, which is positive.”

The Bolton News: Pupils in the classroom studyingPupils in the classroom studying (Image: NQ)

Deputy head teacher Jen Benigno said: “We are really impressed with the commitment of some of our students.

“What we are seeing is a real drive and ambition from those who left us last year to want to give something back.

“Already we have students in our current Year 10 and 11 who are excited at the prospect of returning to work at Westhoughton High School and help other learners make the best of their GCSE year as they can relate to the highs and lows young people experience.

Read more of our top stories here:

“Our students have worked with the after-school coaches independently and come back week after week since we started the initiative in February.

“It is fantastic to see some students leaving as the site team close up at 6pm - a long day but great preparation for life beyond school and working life.

“That is what we do at Westhoughton High School - we work hard for success.

“The community values have been built on hard work and we are instilling this in our young people.

“We are on a journey with it and not where we want to be yet, but we are ambitious and excited about what our students can give one another and how they can help each other learn.

“It is truly inspiring to see them support one another, and it is making learning cool!”

Roma Rajput, a Year 11 pupil, said the sessions are really benefitting her.

She said: “I think these sessions are beneficial because since I have started going to them I have noticed that my grades in class have been improving a lot more.

“In the sessions it is quite a lot of independent revision and then we also have the after-school coaches so if I don’t understand something I can ask them to help me with it which is really helpful.”

The Bolton News: The after school coaches, former pupils, who tutor the current pupilsThe after school coaches, former pupils, who tutor the current pupils (Image: NQ)Year 10 pupil Ami Bhudia said the after-school coaches are really helpful because they explain it differently to teachers.

She said: “The former pupils are around our age so they explain it in a way that I can understand because sometimes teachers use big words, so it has been beneficial.”

Regan Kelly, another Year 11 pupil, said his grades have increased due to the sessions.

He added: “I think the sessions are mint, I have gone from a three in maths to a six, and it’s been really good.”

Former pupils said it feels "nostalgic" to be back at school helping the new pupils set to sit their GCSEs.

Grace Linney said: “Coming back to high school feels really nostalgic, like walking the corridors and seeing all the teachers again and seeing the quotes on the walls like it was when I was doing my GCSEs.

“I want to be a teacher in the future, and I like talking to the students and helping them get through GCSEs.

“I think these sessions have been very positive especially because the pupils are not just asking about the content, they are asking about how to deal with the stress of exams and exam technique, things that they can’t always ask their teachers.”

The sessions run every Wednesday with three back to back and a break in between each session.

If you have a story or something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at or DM me on X @chloewjourno.