"I want to have a million in the bank"- how one student credits Southway alternative provision for steering him away from a life of crime at just 14

Two years ago Brandon Howey was taken out of mainstream education, entering into a life of crime and at still only 14 years-old, a safeguarding concern to school and the police.

By Emma Ryan
Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 11:45 am

However, he is now about to leave school, having sat his GCSEs and planning to "have a million in the bank".

Brandon is one of the success stories for the Southway Youth Hub, near Belle Isle which is an alternative provision for young people who have fallen out with mainstream education.

He shared his story with the Yorkshire Evening Post as he looks forward to the next stage of his education, which is set to be at Leeds College of Building.

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Brandon Howey of Lofthouse is looking forward to the next chapter after leaving school.

Now 16, he admits that had he not been moved from The Rodillian Academy ( which has 1600 students) when he was in year 9, he "would not be in a school now" and headteacher Andy Percival said the school and police were "seriously worried" about the path he was taking.

He explained: "I was being silly for no reason but there was a big crowd, I showed off I had my mates there, I did not have to prove myself. Outside of school I was getting into trouble with the police, robbing bikes and anything that I could get my hands on."

When asked "why", the teenager, who is dyslexic, is self-critical and honest.

He said: "The amount of people there was an issue. I did not want to do the work in front of 30 people and get it wrong and look like a idiot. I used to go to special educational needs groups and used to really struggle with the alphabet and vowels and here they just started teaching me properly. The teachers here can handle it.

Dahna Millar from the school's safeguarding team, Brandon Howey and headteacher Andy Percival. Picture by Simon Hulme.

"When it is fewer people in a room, it is a lot quieter, I get my head down, everybody is working, it is a nicer environment and you get done what you need to do."

Brandon is on course to get level 4 and 5 GCSE grades (equivalent to C and B) in science, maths and English. He has been offered a place on a course at the college with the option to study at a smaller college but he has opted to go to the main college so he can complete his studies and start work sooner.

He said: "Before I turned 16, I started to realise there was no point coming to school just to mess around because I will not get anywhere, and I need to get somewhere in my life and think smart - it was a reality check.

"Even if I had gone back to Rodillian, I would mess it up again, there would be that many people and I would instantly be back to being the class clown again but that is not what I wanted - who was I doing it for?".