The relationship between our coaches and the young people is very strong; here's Mike telling you about the progression of one of his students. 

In my first session at Westdean, I met Javaun, a year 11 pupil, who had been on the programme the year before. Initially, Javaun was extremely withdrawn and struggled to engage in any form of communication. We believe this is due to Javaun not having a male role model in his life which results in him being wary of adult males.

His reason for being expelled from mainstream education was his inability to control his aggression. His teacher has disclosed that Javaun is involved with boxing outside of school and takes his training seriously. Having this focus has helped him channel his aggression and energy into something meaningful. Since joining his local boxing club, teachers have noticed that he has begun to develop a good level of discipline and respect which has transferred into his school conduct towards his peers and teachers.

Having this focus has helped him channel his aggression and energy into something meaningful.

From the offset or working with Javaun, we broke down the communication barrier with Javaun as we spoke to him about recent professional boxing bouts and his future within boxing. We soon realised how mature and knowledgeable Javaun was. When speaking to Javaun you can engage in a meaningful conversation with him. Even though this seems a common quality to have, this is very rare to see within young people in a pupil referral unit. With this ability, Javaun also has other good communicational traits like commonly expressing a positive body language and an ability to remain attentive in conversations.

When speaking to Javaun you can engage in a meaningful conversation with him. Even though this seems a common quality to have, this is very rare to see within young people in a pupil referral unit.

At the start of the programme, Javaun surprised the coaches in the way he applied himself in the session. He was fully engaged throughout and receptive to new activities and progressions in the session. Following on from this, Javaun continued to display good behaviour and it was noted by the head teacher that this had also transferred into his school performance. However, in our first session back after October half term we noticed a considerable decline in Javaun’s behaviour and respect towards staff and coaches. He seemed to become very distant from the group and displayed an extremely negative and aggressive attitude. For several weeks he did not participate in sessions, which seemed very strange as he was usually the most engaged within the group.

When we spoke to Javaun about his absence, he opened up about being really stressed at school and worried about what he was going to do when he leaves. We reassured Javaun about his qualities and that if he works hard and has the right attitude he would go on to succeed in whatever he does. Following on from this conversation about his future, Javaun set himself a goal to get a part time job. Within a week he got himself a job at his boxing club assisting in running sessions for the junior class. This was a fantastic achievement as he can now potentially begin to forge a career in something he is extremely passionate about. In addition, Javaun recently invited us to his next boxing bout against a fighter from another club who has beaten him before. Both coaches are looking forward to taking this opportunity to support Javaun.

Within a week he got himself a job at his boxing club assisting in running sessions for the junior class.

Leading on from the previous challenging month, Javaun decided to come back into sessions the following week after speaking with him and he was given the challenge to run a warm up activity for the session. Initially Javaun was reluctant to do so, but with encouragement from the coaches he accepted and did a really good job of it.

We are definitely going in the right direction with Javaun, but we still have a long way to go to prepare him for life outside on education for when he leaves. Going forward in this new term, we want to engage in more conversations with him about his future. In addition, it is important that we start to develop Javaun’s ‘work ready skills’. We have several workshops prepared regarding goal setting, CV development and interview skills. Due to Javaun’s concerns about leaving school unprepared, we hope that these workshops will help him feel better prepared for life once he leaves school.

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