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Pupil Profile - Brandon

Brandon joined Slindon College from Hong Kong as a year 7 pupil in 2019.

Early childhood and educationAn international boarding pupil at Slindon College
Brandon’s education and school life in Hong Kong was difficult due to a diagnosis of autism, a condition that worried his family as a common belief in Hong Kong is that people with autism do not reach their potential. At first, Brandon’s parents struggled to come to terms with the diagnosis and enrolled him at a mainstream school. However, Brandon did not make eye-contact with people, he would talk to himself and did not follow instructions well. Eventually due to his difficulty in communicating with adults and his increased anxiety levels, the school advised that Brandon should seek a specialist provision.

Brandon’s parents then enrolled him at a specialist primary school that provided special needs education. Whilst Brandon made academic progress to a suitable level, his parents were worried that his learning was not being integrated into the classroom setting. At 10 years old, Brandon did not have much social experience and he would often withdraw into his ‘own little world’. Brandon’s parents wanted him to gain more social experience in a school that could deliver both academic and personal development targets whilst being supportive to Brandon’s needs.

Brandon’s mum had studied in the UK and believed that a UK boarding school education would help Brandon to get a good job. However she was worried about him being able to successfully integrate and achieve due to his autism.

A British Boarding School education with a difference
Slindon College was suggested to Brandon’s parents by an education agent. After a video call, Slindon College believed they could help Brandon. At first, he was reluctant about a move to a UK boarding school but during the trial week, Brandon realised that his level of English was sufficient for him to communicate his needs and enjoy the experience.

The boarding houseparents recognised Brandon’s behaviour immediately, they understood that his anxious behaviour was as a result of misunderstandings and so gently encouraged him to make eye contact and engage with other neuro-diverse boys at the College.

“I was struck by the College’s aim ‘to give all boys access to an education that is tailored to their needs’ and when my brother took Brandon for his trial he said, ‘This is a school that suits Brandon.’” – Brandon’s mum October 2021.

After being offered a place, the College suggested a holistic learning programme that included academic studies, social development and experiential learning. Staff identified Brandon’s passion for cars and mechanics as an opportunity to engage with him and to align his personal interests with academic progress.

Two years on, Brandon’s parents have seen real progress both socially and academically. In boarding, Brandon has developed positive relationships with peers and staff. He has also been going the extra mile when it comes to areas of learning that particularly interest him. He speaks to his parents regularly about his passions and this has pleased his father who also enjoys model cars. They are now hopeful that the rounded education provision that he receives at the College will mean he achieves his goals and leads a happy and rewarding life.

Read about other Slindon College pupil's stories here.