Third Millennium Education
Third Millennium Education

Episode 9 · 1 year ago

Callum James, Founder of Zeal Movement and EventConnect


Callum James is a music and events entrepreneur, Founder of Zeal Movement and Event Connect. We are going to hear from his rollercoaster experience in both life and education and stressing how personalized learning can benefit disruptive youngsters in many ways.

“Teachers were not prepared; they do not have time. For them, it is way easier to just take the disrupted kids out from the classroom, rather than focusing on what

could be the actual problem and how to resolve them.”  

“Pupil referral units definitely provided much more support than mainstream schools, however, no one was learning anything.”  

“Doing practical things rather than just sitting there and regurgitating information

benefited me much more than the theory side of things.”  

“I got arrested for assault from age 13 and was sent to a young offenders

institute. Within that time where I actually benefited the most was from


“The main downfall of mainstream education is insufficient facilities and funds to

focus on young people that have underlying issues.”  

“Mainstream education says that everyone learns differently, yet they teach everyone in the same way.”  

I'm delighted to be hosting this podcast. Third Millennium Education. It's a collection of thoughts and inspirations of stakeholders within education. What is education for? On who is it serving? This's a podcast exploring state mandated education, its relevance impact and how it can best meet the needs of third Millennium Learners. Employers on the country by interview exciting people who have had direct experience of education, Whether you are a parent training to be a teacher, a policy maker and academic or an education innovator, nobody working at tech there will be something for you. I'm your host. Zanna hopes Hi. Today I'm talking to Callum Janes, who runs a company called Event Connect on a company called Zeal, which are two businesses that work in the music industry. Both. I'm not in the music industry, but the music promotion Onda music technology solution. I'm delighted to talk to him about his experiences of education, which I think in opening I'll put straight up front and Central were not good. Alan Mimes Calum, 26 years old. It's obviously a pleasure to be on here with you. Thanks. Thanks for having me on. So sort of give you a different solid of education from someone that didn't really enjoy school, don't think, benefited from what can potentially offer young people. For May. I enjoyed school a younger age. It wasn't entirely secondary school where, besides, really to sort, disengage and does not want to be in school Before we get into your secondary school experience, you're just talk me through what was primary school like for you. What works? There probably was great, as much suckle, remember? Anyway, it was somewhere where I wanted to be and felt engaged. There wasn't really that anything that stood out about prom, the school that I really enjoyed. I think it was myself more as a person, and I still wanted to be a schooling enjoyed what was offered to make. Okay, Were you a sporty kit? A primary, always been sports a year. Always been a part of school football teams, football Outside of school boxing, you have always been sporting. So you had that in primary. How did your secondary school experience start? What started going wrong for you? First of all, it's getting that little bit older thinking that you know everything being exposed, Teo. Different things such as smoking. I suppose outside smoking quite young soon's aside. Jonas assumes I joined secondary schools on DH. I think it was more going out with your friends after school as well. Mixing with different people may be thinking people from different backgrounds and schools. I'd always sort go down the park every day after school since I joined the secondary school. And then that's when he got to miss chief smoking, drinking, the social behaviour, that sort of stuff. So that's what has happened to you outside of school. What was happening in school, whether lessons you like lessons you didn't like. There was lessons I did like, but the majority are lessons I didn't enjoy. I didn't think they benefited me. And there's a lot in school that I think is completely irrelevant when you grow up. Unless it's something that you want to do. Specifically taken stem cells, steak and stems from a leaf unless you want to become a scientist. I don't think it really adapts to real life staff, so you didn't feel what you were learning was going to be relevant to your life. So you became less engaged exactly a simpler way. Yes, that's exactly it. So what happened to you in school? You're sowing your secondary school. What? When one and I was getting bored. Really? To be honest, Andi probably looking for attention. Start playing up in class. I just really didn't want to be there. And I knew to get out of being at school. All I had to do was disrupt the classroom and I would be sent out of class. And if I didn't obey or we had something called isolation on DH. So if you were...

...disrupting the class, you'd asked to leave. If you weren't willing. Teo, stop disrupting the class would be put in something called isolation, which was really just a room full of other Children like myself. We didn't want to be at school. We give work, wouldn't be expected to do it. We would just be facing a wall, not talking to anyone else. But as you can probably imagine, a group full of young Children who sort of disruptive all in one room. You can probably imagine it. It got even more out of control. So withdrawing u from the classroom, putting you in isolation, putting you with young people who were experiencing the same thing. Did nothing to re engage you in education. What happened next? In what year Group? I know you got excluded from school. What year did you get excluded from your fair school in? So the first time, all that excluded was I was actually in junior school. I was in year six junior school. I think, actually, that's probably the first time I can remember where I didn't want to be at school. I jumped over the fence at school and just went home. That was in your sexy man being executed for a day for that. Then, in year seven, I started to be a bit more disruptive. Hasn't. Fights are here and they're on DH was excluded for two days and then a week. And then it wasn't until I got two year eight where I really started not wanting to be a school, knowing that if I disrupted school and everyone else general leading that, I would be excluded on DH. It was Christmas year eight. So sort of end the first term year, eh? Is when I was purposely excluded from my first school and then went through a second mainstream school was only death three months. I think I was excluded more days than I wasn't Then I was supposed to be there again. Generally just disrupting classes did. Used to fight a lot. So fighting that was outside of school. I was at that second to mainstream school for three months, and then I finished the end of year, eh? That's Ah, common what they call them nowadays. It was an exclusion school, basically for Children, you know, that was actually a pupil referral unit. So it was quite a long time ago now, but yet, so I spent the rest of the year a a pupil referral unit Before we get into your life experience in the people referral. You know, I just want to get back to something you said about getting into a lot of fights. So clearly you had quite a lot of anger related issues. How you feel the school, the mainstream schools dealt with those. I don't think they're prepared to be totally honest, I think, obviously, due to the amount of underfunding and cups that they've had throughout the last few decades, they don't have the time. To be honest, they do have facilities, but they're not really prepared for Children like myself or how it was then. I think whether the classes are so much bigger now as well, and they constantly grow in teachers they don't think they have, they want to focus on the Children that are actually gonna work, you know? I mean, if they've got 32 Children in the class and two are being disrupted, say for them it's easier for them to just take them out of the equation and focus on the kids. Actually want to know what learn, and that's what I found. I found that I was left to my own devices. I didn't really care why did. And the answer was just exclusion, taking me out of the situation Barton and focusing on what the actual problems were and how to resolve them. So you got removed from mainstream education sent to a pupil referral unit that's designed to cater for young people in your situation whose needs, you know, maybe have needs around challenging behaviour or have other specific needs. How did you find that people are a fairly in it? I found them a lot. Mohr supportive on DH, prepared Of course, they're designed for Children being destructive on DH, no engaging in schools. So I found it was more beneficial, in a sense, where you had a lot more time. So whatever challenges you may have, the only thing...

...that I don't think is good about people referral unit is you can't just throw in all of those disruptive people in one place. So it's chaos, to be honest, The first one I went to was year five. Seeyou nines on DH. It was crazy fights every day. No one was really learning anything. It was just keeping. The kids sat in their chairs, not run around the corridors for me. I don't think people referral units work. I think they're just a place to toss Children that have been disruptive and just chuck him into somewhere where they're not seen and not heard. And I don't really have tow focus Too much on the education side of it is non existent. It's very basic. It's just difficult because we've got a lot of people, a lot of Children there that have got a lot of issues at home myself. Muscle aggression, violence stemmed from stuff from my childhood that's the majority. I'd say 80 90% of the Children there have. They even had a really difficult upbringing or their continued tohave difficult challenges at home. So, personally, I don't think it worked at all from personal experience. But in terms of actually having more support, I definitely had more support than that. Can I just ask? So were you exposed to violence in the home As a child? I wasn't deejay. So your difficulty and challenges in managing your own aggression and anger came back from traumatic events in your own childhood. How well did the people referral unit address those better than mainstream? Definitely. Yeah, As I mentioned, I was exposed to a lot of violence from an early age up until probably the age of, and that definitely anyone that says that it doesn't affect a young person hasn't even been in that situation before, so they wouldn't know. So there was a lot of sort of once one anger management courses that I had that the pupil referral unit I wasn't offered at mainstream. That really helps, but again, they're not funded enough to really make a difference. I don't think so. What was your attendance like it? The people are fairly, innit? Awful. But by the end of year nine, they asked me not to bother coming back just because I was again fighting all the time, never telling up to school. I remember blessed. My mom had one of the teachers on DH. The police come to my door saying that my mom would get fine if I didn't go to school. I was basically stood there saying, There's no point in finding her because she can't make me go to school. So you're going to do is she was a single moment on. All you're doing is punishing. Apparent who? I know it should be down to the parents, but I can imagine it's hard for a single mom who's trying to work a full time job just to pay the bills and put food on the table to them. Have tto try and force her son goes to school as well. So as I'm into my attentions was next. Nothing barely ever went to school. So you've been thrown out of Maine to mainstream schools. You go to a pupil referral unit and you get thrown out of that at the end of year nine, you know, Did you do fears 10 and 11 always offered something called Tim's Tim's or Something, where they try and introduce you to college a year early. So in Year 10, I was offered to do a motor trade's course, so I was only going to school three days a week. I wasn't actually going to school. So two days of the week I was going to a college to do multi trades, something I was already interested in. But it was something better than being sat in the classroom, and I find too impractical things rather than just sit in there and regards taped in information on DH in a test. Actually doing something practical, I think, benefited me much more than theory side of things. So I do two days a week to in multi tracer college, and then one day a week I would go to use like a community centre on day, would Taber to to come in and teach you maths in English. So the old learn is mass in English on my multi trades course, out three days a week at something called Tim's. It was for like...

...the Children like myself that went to the pupil referral unit on. They weren't engaging there, so it was a sort of a step up closer to adult life. But again, I got into a fight saying I was tipped off that as well sent back to your pupil referral unit for year tens in Elevens, which are sort of spend the rest of my education there. But again, I was never there. I'd probably going maybe once a week if that so, really. From the first term of year eight. You had no consistent education at all. No, look, I'm school anyway. Awful school. Not from school. No. Just to finish up the storey of your education input. I understand that you then ended up in trouble with the police, then ended up serving time in a young offenders institution. Dead? Yes. The first time I was ever in trouble with the police, I was actually at the first pupil were fell, you know, again, it was just not wanting to be a school at that school. Both they had key fobs to lock all of the doors. So everything with doors locked each end of the corridor by those doors will are off. I was trying to get out of the sports. Go home, teachers room away. All these foreign punches was young. 13 year old boy was quite told us. Why was probably six football? It's almost 14. So that's the first time I was arrested for a soul was actually on a teacher, which was not something I'm proud off. But that was the first time, was in trouble with the police and was probably getting arrested once a month from the age of 13 14 up until the age of 17, when eventually they couldn't really dismiss any of my issues that I had. And I was sent Teo Young Offenders Institute from 15 to 18 year olds on DH. I was actually released from there until my court. They they reminded me into my court date. Latterly must listen, sir was able to get me out on bail when I was on tag. It was actually within that time where I actually benefited. The most of that was from counselling. I did a lot of council in trying to understand what I was exposed to it and child sort of transitions into my adult life and why I was so aggressive and violent and angry all the time and disengaged and that out of everything benefit me the most. So our did the council in by that stage, I was destined to go to prison, are sentenced to 33 moms for GBH on DH. I mean, some of my remind time and take time taken off. How long? If you're 33 months, did you serve? Okay, so sentenced to 33 months with Obviously you spend half of that in custodial are so 16.5 months I've spent some time on tied on reminds which would reduce it to 13 months are only had to serve 13 months and also our after nine months of good behaviour to serve the remainder for months on tag and the nose on muscles for two years. So within that nine months and I'm gonna come back to the counselling in a minute. But within that nine months, how much education did you get? What training? Learning opportunities did they give you because you were still a young man? At this point, I wasn't easier to be honest, I was offered just as much as I probably wasat school Basic English maths, science, arts, music, business studies on DH I think the difference wass I was more willing to it be engaged then I actually wanted to learn when by the parliament's prison stars I was offered a good amount of education, which I took up. I actually didn't fitness instructor. Of course I did quite a lot of education when I was in prison. Actually. So, tragically, the prison service managed to educate you slightly better than we did throughout school. You said that this counselling So actually the counselling was probably the thing that had the most profound effect on you. Was that something that was painful for your? Did your family have to find the funds to pay for that? No. Luckily for me, my family were able to fund that for me. That counselling...

...and actually understanding the impact of your off adverse experiences that you had when you were younger started Teo really make you think and change your behaviour on then prison. You got some learning? Yes, way. Come on to talk about what you've done since and get into that a bit, what would have been different if you could wipe the slate, skips clean and go back to Year six when your behaviour is starting to get in the way of your learning what would have worked for you in education? That is difficult because I can't say this is the same for everyone, but for me personally, I just didn't enjoy school. I don't think there would have been much they could have done in terms of classroom sitting in a classroom, trying to learn from reading from a book or copying from teacher and on paper. Because academically, I've never been amazing. I don't think I could read right to preach good standards, but that's not the way I learned how much more of a visual person alone. Vision E. To be honest, I don't think there would be the much they could have done in school for me personally, maybe trying to understand what I wass I was feeling so once toe be disruptive, I don't think they really don't say I didn't care, but I don't think they have the facilities to focus on all those young people that have got those issues underlying issues. They really just want to focus on the kids that really do want to learn and that that's the downfall I think for mainstreams causes is where they're underfunded, the classroom sizes too big. It's too much theory rather than practical, then it's not that they're not interested. They just don't have the facilities to deal with the one or two Children per class that don't want to engage. So for them, the answer and this is just from my point of view, the answer is to remove those people. Concentrate on the ones that do want to learn. But it's when those Children are remove use. It's hard to say, Don't put them in a room all together and try make them learn. But for me, that is the wrong thing to do because you're just put in all of the destructive Children in one room together. It's a double ended sword. Really, when I'm also hearing is that that the learning style off copping off the blackboard, being asked to read something and respond on do those sorts of things didn't work for you. You described yourself as a visual learner. You've also described yourself at that age of being very keen on sport on I'm wondering if the education system where we put everybody through a similar funnel just simply didn't suit you. And the other thing that I'm really picking up from you is that it took until you had actually been sentenced for that focused effort on you understanding your anger based on your experience to violence, of being very young to come in. And I'm wondering if you feel that schools have any role in trying to find different ways of engaging young people in learning. You've said you're a practical learner on I'm wondering if you feel that schools should be playing more of a part in actually helping young people who have experienced traumatic experiences. Teo actually understand those process them and manage them so that your education career might not have needed to start in prison 100% for May. It was the realisation of actually on going to prison. Now was the big wake up call for me, the effect it was having on my family, especially my mom. I think that definitely gave me a realisation that I need to back up my ideas. But in terms of the education side in the school side, of things again. I think it goes back to underfunding. I think if schools were funded a little bit more toe, have the facilities to maybe focus more on sport, focus more on different styles of education, that this is something that always stands out for me,...

...that they say that everyone is different and everyone learns differently. Yet they want to teach everyone the same way. So for me, it's never going to work doing it that way. They need to focus. I think, on people strengths or not more. If someone's really sporty, touch them for sport. Of course, I need to do their their basic maths, English and everything else. But if someone's really, really interested in sports, you don't need for them to sit through religious education class or a science class. They may not be the academic is not going to benefit them in future life. It's not something they're interested in. Where is someone that wants to be a scientist, for example, that wants to be in science? You don't need to push them to do physical education. It's good to have a little bit involved, but focus more on signs. That's more opinion So what I'm hearing from that is that you would be keen for the education system to be changed to allow for flexible learning style. So actually, being engaged in your learning in different styles, having the opportunity to have it much more personalised to what interests you on actually being able to offer a different kind of support to young people who might be experiencing challenges? Definitely 100%. I think when a young person, when they find their their passion and their talent, they should be pretty pushed to not solely due to that. Because, of course, you have to be educated on a number of different things, just the life skills. But I mean, if someone is excelling in a certain subjects, whether it be English math, science, P music, for example, most of their school life should be focused on that. I'm interested. You just mentioned music there because obviously you've gone on to make your career is an entrepreneur in the music industry as an events promoter on also now on events technologists, I suppose. Would that be the right way to describe? Yeah, you could say that. Yes. I don't want music technology That's not the right I'd say Music on events on Turkana music and events. Entrepreneur. Yeah, it's been area, isn't it? Yes. Oh, hearing that, I mean what you've gone on to do and your passion for music and setting up events on DH, finding better ways for venues to collaborate with artists and for audiences to engage with music on DH, then use. I mean, I dread to think what's happening to you during covered, but we won't go into that. But your whole business model. Ah, lot of that could have been taught to you in school. You could have had opportunities to think about even just making a playlist. Yes, definitely your passion for music picked up at any point in your education. No, not so music was a lesson that it was a weird one. Music, because you weren't really taught anything to be honest and again, that's underfunding. I think it's something that has been a lot more focused on school. Now I know you could do music as a GCS see now as well, which is good, something I've seen firsthand now as well, with music in particular, this is what I'm focusing on now I wasn't offered. Teo. Learn how to become a deejay, for example, which I was sort of family passion for what I wanted to do when I left Prison wasn't offered to learn how sir teach gay or producing music or anything like that. But there's ah company. Now they're two guys. Would Austin Will Scott Smart two brothers from Manchester. They run a business called Future DJs. Now what they do is they go into mainstream schools and they have tutors from all around the country that actually approached me to find the tutor in Portsmouth. They go into This is a really funny storey because the guy that represents future DJs, he goes into the first school that I got kicked out ofthe in. You're a and he goes in there and he teaches kids to mix, which is D J and Mix and two songs together, producing all sorts of stuff so that...

...this funny the person that goes into the school now and two noses into the school that I got kicked out ofthe actually placed in there. So it's quite a funny sort of any quite ironic, quite ironic and a crying shame. Callum that nobody had been able to do that for. You know, it wasn't until I went to prison and I did a music technology course, which is why I actually found a real passion for mixing music, creating music, not something that I've so I've gone on to do professionally. But as a hobby in my personal life is something that benefits me. And there was until I went to prison and I did that, I think, because the classroom sizes were a lot smaller and a lot more focus on you. If you're struggling, you could let you go to the teacher and they're not. You have about 30 kids on their place. You've just got so far for six While column It has been an absolute pleasure to talk to you. Thank you for your time. On as I say, I think your insights are really powerful in terms of thinking about the individual needs of the young people and how we can personalise the learning for them on the fact that you found your passion. And although you are not a deejay, you are running your own music industry business in events on promotion is amazing and I wonder if your storey could have been different if you had a little bit more support to do that earlier on. I agree. Thank you for your fine. It's been an absolute pleasure to talk to you laws. Thank you. Thank you for listening to this episode of Third Millennium Education. I'd like to know what has been your biggest takeaway from this conversation. If he did enjoy this episode, do hit the subscribe button to continue to receive future episodes. Podcasts. If you would like to be interviewed or you know somebody who would be good to interview, please also get in touch. I hope you'll join me on the next episode. And together we can carry on the conversation to ensure that we can best meet the needs of Third Millennium Learners employers in the country. Thank you again and see you on the next episode.

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