Brandon Swinglehurst Case Study
In the summer of 2013 Flying Futures diversified into the area of Alternative Education provision and set up a link with a local secondary school in Doncaster working with 14-16 year olds. The aim of this provision was to help young people who couldn’t engage in a mainstream school environment and try and steer them back on the right path for successful futures.
Brandon was referred to Flying Futures in the pilot project phase in September 2013 from our partner school Don Valley Academy.
Below is a statement from Mr Gary Oldfield from Don Valley regarding what Brandon was like prior to Flying Futures.
Brandon joined Don Valley in September 2010. Since he started Don Valley, Brandon proved very difficult to manage both in and out of class. He was hugely disruptive and often the catalyst for negative issues in and around school.
He had received a huge amount of in-school sanctions including, detentions, safety net referrals, isolations, fixed term exclusions and a 6 week managed move placement. His behaviours ranged from low level disruption to extreme defiance and disrespect. He was also responsible for stealing a mobile phone from a teacher and setting off the fire alarm.
Brandon’s behaviours escalated further as he entered and progressed through Year 9 and the number of fixed term exclusions continued to increase after his failed managed move and he was then referred to the Bungalow provision, which was an on-site alternative provision. Even in this provision he continued to struggle to maintain a positive relationship with staff and this prompted a referral to Flying Futures.
Since joining Flying Futures he has transformed his attitude and behaviours to have a hugely positive impact on his chances of future success. He continues to perform well on his placement and he will also sit his GCSE Maths and English exams later this academic year.
Gary Oldfield (Assistant Principal Inclusion, Don Valley Academy)
In the beginning it was a difficult process to engage with Brandon and we did have several issues around incidents with his peers and his attendance. We were at a crossroads as to whether he might be better in another provision. Then after discussions with key people (Parents, Brandon, Flying Futures staff and Don Valley Academy) we decided to give him a final all or nothing chance. His provision became much more conducive towards his own personal needs and with the help of an individual called Nathan Kennedy. This tailored provision was focussed around his interests of Dance, Drama, Music and Theatre production, work experience, working with people and personalised mentoring. Nathan was able to take Brandon into an environment away from his peers and distractions, basing his mentoring at Grove Gardens and his work placement at Kingfisher Primary School with the support of a Flying Futures member of staff to look at progress and development. The respect and relationship he built up with Nathan led to Brandon becoming a lot more settled although this journey wasn’t always perfect there seemed to be a new found maturity in Brandon’s behaviour, attitude and attendance. This played a hugely influential role in Brandon’s development.
Brandon then went on to join the New Youth Theatre (NYT) group around April 2014, this really gave Brandon a focus to keep pursuing his dream of becoming an actor. The staff at NYT and the other group members have supported Brandon tremendously and it has given him a new more positive social circle to mix in. He has performed in 3 of NYT’s shows now and the feedback about Brandon from NYT has been excellent. Jan and Mick from the NYT have been very supportive of Brandon’s progress and development and have a big impact in helping him as well.
Brandon’s parents have always been supportive of the work Flying Futures have been trying to do with their son and these comments below have been taken from a letter they wrote to Flying Futures on what they think about Brandon’s development with Flying Futures and Flying Futures.
“I would like to let you know that I have nothing but praise for Flying Futures. They have been a god send for our Brandon. They have helped him with his attitude towards people, his behaviour and also his skills. Through them Brandon has come on leaps and bounds in attitude and his maturity has grown for the better. We have had a few hiccups along the way but have overcome them with the help of Flying Futures staff. I would especially like to say thank you to Graeme for all the help and encouragement that he has shown Brandon, especially where his Drama is concerned, it has made a huge difference. I would highly recommend that any child that gets the chance to attend Flying Futures does so. They have helped Brandon on his way to getting a place at College”.
Mr & Mrs Swinglehurst
The focus this academic year for Brandon was to keep developing his personal skills as well as prepare him for his English and Maths exams. There has also been an opportunity to work on a career plan and this has seen Brandon research, apply and be successful in applying to go to Doncaster College to study a Level 2 in Performing and Production arts. The application and interview has been supported by work done by Flying Futures.