I was a bad breed, trying to fix up in life but I kept getting distracted by others. I thought I was a bad boy. Now I’m in school with something good in my head I have improved my behaviour and I came second out of the whole school – I am aiming to be at the top. I will be going to college to do my A-levels in Business, Maths and English.
The Boxing Academy is turning around the lives of children with serious behaviour problems, who have often been excluded from mainstream education. They have mixed the discipline and culture of boxing with a rigorous approach to learning and made it a highly successful school. I’m impressed by the work they do and the results they get – every one of their students this year is now in college building on the skills they will need for later life. I’m keen that other schools in similar challenging areas can learn from the principles that the Academy instil.
I was worried when the school said they wanted to send my son to an AP. I thought it would be full of bad kids and no learning would happen but after tonight [parents’ evening] I feel so thankful. There have never been any grades on my son’s reports. Just blanks. The school said he was unteachable. This has proper grades on it – and one is a C! Parents’ evening usually ends up with an argument and me in tears, but this time they are of happiness.
I have seen a dramatic change since my son has been coming to The Boxing Academy. He is much calmer when he talks to me, and calmer on the street. He has learned so much. Before people said he couldn’t learn to manage his temper and his behaviour and he was labelled. Now the labels are lifted off and he is much happier
If I was in mainstream school I wouldn’t be as fit. I got kicked out of school for fighting so at first it didn’t make sense to me to be sent to a place where you train in fighting. But now I can see it works. Boxing controls me and I’m not so easily wound up. I walk away from fights on the street because I know the consequences. I feel less angry and would think twice before an argument.
I’ve been coming for two years and I really love it – I actually want to come to school every day. When I leave I want to gain some building qualifications and go into construction. I’m good at fixing things so perhaps I’ll be an electrician or a carpenter. I feel the teachers here understand us and allow us to express ourselves.
I was a little spoilt boy, just taking everything I wanted. I had my own little crew and we were going down the wrong road stealing, robbing, fighting people who we knew could not defend themselves and just being a bully to everyone.
Now I’m in school, trying to make up for all the work I missed out on in mainstream. I’m going to get a paying job so I can help out my mum with her bills and make her proud of me. I want to build my own house and provide for me and my family.
I was involved in gang rivalry for something called ‘protecting your ends’. A lot of my loved ones were stabbed or shot I saw myself next in the line to get hit by the other side. If I carried on going down this road I would have ended up stabbed or even shot. Life is more serious then I thought, it’s not child’s play where you cause trouble in your neighbour hood and get away with it because you’re young.
Now seeing that the hood gave me nothing but trouble and problems, I am trying to stay out of it and educate myself. In the future I would like to have a good decent life and a family.
I am delighted with the excellent and ground-breaking results that the Academy has produced with all their year eleven students achieving GCSEs and going on to further education or employment. I believe there are many young people who urgently need the care, expertise and attention that the Academy provides, and there are many schools who would benefit greatly from a safer, happier and more successful environment.
The quality of the students’ experience at The Boxing Academy is just as good as it is at the school… These students attend well and their behaviour is excellent.
Carlos was 14 and had received a number of fixed-term exclusions from school before he was referred to the Boxing Academy. He discovered that the sport training was fun, but that above all it helped him to focus. The guidance of the coaches helped him to change his attitude: “boxing teaches you discipline…you get your energy out there, so when you go into lessons you are more chilled out. Of course boxing teaches you to fight better, but it also teaches you to avoid fighting”.
Carlos completed the Academy course with GCSEs in English and Maths and a Merit in BTEC Level 2 Sport and is now a qualified fitness instructor.
Daniela had struggled in mainstream school with the rules and teachers, and she was often angry and aggressive. At the Academy small class sizes helped her to focus, but it was the attitude of the staff that really changed her. If a pupil was angry or upset and wanted to walk out, the teachers let them go and cool off; “they did not chase you and confront you like at school. They give you a chance and can laugh with you, but can also be strict about the important things: about turning up on time, being respectful, and not fighting.”
Daniela passed her GCSEs and went on to take a course in Beauty Therapy.
Before I was not going to school everyday, being rude to my Nan and the teachers, not having a good education, not letting others learn and not making my family proud of me.
Now I am in school everyday, doing good, making my family proud of me and showing everyone that I have changed. I am putting a smile on my mum and my Nan’s face and if my dad was still alive he would have been very proud of me. After I get good grades in school I would like to go college and study music and after college I would like to be a solo singer, if not to work in a zoo.
The Academy assists in reducing youth offending and increasing educational attendance and achievement, but also in teaching these young people many positive skills, including anger management, knowledge of healthy lifestyles, social skills and good citizenship. Indeed the very fact that in the last few years the Boxing Academy has achieved 90% attendance rates and the young people have performed at GCSE above their predictions in a mainstream setting is testament enough of the excellent work being undertaken.
I really enjoyed coming to The Boxing Academy, meeting everyone and giving a talk on Construction Industry blacklisting. The questions that the students came up with were really good and they seemed particularly interested in the subject. I was inspired by what the centre is trying to do and impressed with how open and friendly everyone was.
Before I begun at the Boxing Academy I was very badly behaved in my school and had a problem with authority and struggled to listen to instructions. At first impressions it sounds bad but as you speak to their staff and students you begin to realise this is the best place for you if you do not like the environment in a mainstream school. In the Boxing Academy the rewards and punishments are more suited to me for example rather then a detention you do press ups or a physical punishment and as a reward you can get money – prizes etc. If this placement was not offered to me I would probably be out all day smoking cannabis and getting up to trouble but now I’m here it has helped to get my anger out on boxing and get an education. This is the first time I ever looked forward to going to school.
Now I am at the Boxing Academy I am doing well, coming into school everyday, paying attention in classes and getting my education. I got the most improved student award! I like going on trips with the Boxing Academy, having fun, learning boxing. I’m gonna get my GCSEs, stay away from prison, own my own company. I can get every thing I want in life, but the right way.
The Boxing Academy works in partnership with local schools and has had much success in dealing with the problem of crime and anti-social behaviour among 13-16 year olds in the Tottenham area. Haringey is in the top ten boroughs in the UK for crime and poverty. We believe that any investment in our youth is repaid many times over in the future and we therefore endorse the Academy and the work it does
I was getting into fights and arguments with teachers [in mainstream school], but now I’m looking forward to passing my exams and going on to college.
For many years this organisation has made a valuable contribution to the lives of young people in my constituency. It has provided a safe and supportive space for young people to pursue academic, physical and emotional success. The Boxing Academy can be credited with complete positive transformations in the lives of many young people in London.
The Boxing Academy is a fantastic institution that does amazing good for the community and all the kids and young people who go there. Schemes like this are vital in providing the discipline, excitement and emotional maturity that so many of our kids are lacking… this is exactly the kind of place I want to support with the Mayor’s Fund for London.
We provide an alternative to mainstream school, combining basic education and mentoring with the discipline and culture of boxing and other sport training to re-engage the most difficult-to-reach young people.
We support our students in their education, improve their health and happiness, and encourage them to aim for a better future.
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