Light Up Learning is... 

a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) providing one-to-one mentoring for high school students in Edinburgh and the Lothians. The programme has been successfully operating in partnership with Lasswade High School since February 2015 and is currently working to expand into other local schools.

The programme aims to address issues of unequal access to education and disengagement in the classroom by creating low-stress, supportive, and playful learning environments for young people who have experienced disadvantage. We place each student in charge of their own learning and give them the resources, skills, and contacts they need to achieve their potential. 


“The only downside of Light Up Learning is that we can’t offer it to more kids.”
— Teacher Feedback


The organization was founded on two pillars of understanding: 

  1. Social circumstances determined by class shouldn’t stand in the way of young people learning in positive and fulfilling ways; and
  2. Every young person deserves to experience low-stress, fun, and relevant learning environments in which they can explore their passions and develop critical skills.

With these in mind, we developed five Guiding Principles to inform our practices:

  • Fairness in Education: Too often, social circumstance determines the quality of a student’s learning. The programme aims to address this issue by offering young people from less privileged backgrounds the resources, support, opportunities, and contacts that they need to achieve their potential.

  • Playful and Relevant Learning: When young people can’t connect with the topics they’re learning about, they disengage. The programme aims to make the learning process low-stress, fun, and relevant to student interests.

  • Student-led: Light Up Learning encourages students to take ownership and be in charge of their own learning. Young people decide what subject to explore and adult mentors act as partners in the learning process, rather than as teachers.

  • Sustained Support: We aim for our mentors and their students to work together for four years, all the way from S3 to the end of their time at school. This gives the greatest opportunity for a strong relationship to grow between mentor and student, thus giving students the best chance to develop critical learning skills that they can carry through life. 

  • Community of Learners: Light Up Learning wants to build a tight-knit community in which students and mentors act as resources to each other and feel supported in their own individual learning. 


We place each student in charge of their own learning and offer them:

  • a supportive mentor; 
  • useful resources and opportunities; and
  • our network of contacts.

Students and mentors meet once a week during the school day. Sessions are fifty minutes long and take place on school premises, though we do occasionally take field trips. Each pair researches, discusses, and plans projects around topics that fire the student's imagination. We've seen everything from film to footballers!

We see learning as an opportunity to explore existing passions, to discover new passions, and to build key skills in the process of each. To us, a successful relationship with learning is one that leaves a student curious, passionate, confident, self-aware, and eager to learn beyond the walls of their high school classroom. We hope that the skills which our students develop with us will instill lifelong interests in learning and aid them in their chosen paths in the years to follow. 


Given the right resources, contacts, and Sustained support... 

certain students get a head start on the long ladder of learning, while other students are shut out of these privileges by social circumstance and may be at a greater risk of falling behind and disengaging.

Our students are selected for the programme with this in mind. We work with students who are both:

  1. eligible for the Scottish Government's Free School Meals programme; and
  2. experiencing disengagement in the traditional classroom setting.

 To get a sense of the work our students do with the programme, check out our blog


Light Up Learning's method Doesn't Stop With our Students.

We offer our mentors paid “LuL Time,” which allows them to research and learn about what they, as individuals, are passionate about. 

With both our mentors and students taking time to learn about what they love, Light Up Learning is hoping to build a strong and vibrant Community of Learners in which all members feel supported in the important work of building a lifelong relationship with learning. 

Read about what some of our mentors have been doing for their "LuL Time" on our blog!