Martyn Byrne, Teacher of Geography and Year Leader, Winston Churchill School, Surrey.
After an extensive search for an outdoor educator who could facilitate a bespoke experiential learning experience for a group of disengaged Y9 boys with a range of challenging SEN & extensive history behavioural interventions & exclusions I selected Stephan as my course provider. The project I had in mind was to challenge the boys with high levels of perceived risk, physically, emotionally, and socially via a wilderness journey. My aim was to place the students in a situation whereby they could not adopt the usual strategies employed in a school setting that enabled them to avoid accepting ownership of their actions (i.e. truancy, aggressive outbursts leading to exclusion or manipulating home school relationships to their own end). To achieve this I needed to ensure very real consequences for choices would be “lived through” not simply identified and removed. To achieve this in a remote, wild country environment, required not only a well-qualified, well-organised, competent outdoor instructor (of whom I know many) but an outdoor educator/adventure therapist who had the skills to identify developmental needs of individuals, engage and mentor challenging teenagers, anticipate and effectively manage a high risk activity (where real risk, including social & emotional risk, was present) and provide the logistical support to ensure successful outcomes for all the students. Stephan achieved all of the above in a calm, self assured and professional manner. Initial feedback from the participants, parents, and teaching staff indicates the venture has had a noticeably positive impact on all. My own school will shortly be booking another venture for 2015 and partnership schools who have been briefed about the venture and its impact are now investigating the project as part of their own intervention programmes. I would strongly recommend Stephan and this project to all schools nationwide.
8th June 2011
Open Testimonial on behalf of a Mother.
F has always had difficulties in the realms of schooling, often labeled a ‘naughty boy’. Many children did not understand F and he struggled with the relationships and social settings. At the age of 9, F was taught completely alone with a TA and was not included in school activities at all. At the age of 11, F was excluded from his special-education school, from there he met with My Big Adventure. Here he found skills he never knew he had, rock climbing fast became his domain and we saw positive changes in his behaviour. F made very strong relationships with the guys, each teaching him new skills, and not just sport skills, social skills and the confidence to believe in relationships and most importantly himself. F has now been placed into a residential school that will hopefully nurture these skills. His time at My Big Adventure has enabled him to manage this transition very well.
18th June 2010
To whom it may concern,
Open Testimonial on behalf of Dr. Stephan Natynczuk.
Stourminster School is a large special school that is responsible for the education of 120 young people who have a ‘Statement of Special Educational’ need. Whilst all the students have Cognitive Learning Difficulties, they all have additional complex needs ranging from ADHD to ASC and from BESD to communication related issues. And invariably their social situation and their emotional vulnerability produce complex and challenging behaviours that impact significantly into their ability to access their educational entitlement.
There has been a considerable increase in the numbers of such children being referred to Stourminster who have had considerable difficulties accessing their learning entitlement through traditional schooling.
Stephan has worked effectively with us since 2005, creating bespoke and personalised programmes that have forged positive relations with these very complex and hard too reach students, using his professional skills and knowledge of outdoor education as a medium for his therapeutic work to great effect.
Due to the significant increase in students who require alternative-learning approaches linked with the effectiveness of Dr. Stephan Natynczuk and his team our use of his organisation has been increased significantly over the years.
I have worked with complex Special Education Needs for over 35 years and it is without a doubt that Stephan and his team leave other providers way behind, he is at the cutting edge of the work with such youngsters and fully committed to improving their outcomes and experiences.
I have every confidence in Dr. Stephan Natynczuk in his ability to respond professionally with flexibly and creativity to the changing needs of today’s youngsters. Therefore, it is without hesitation or reservation that I can recommend him and his organisation to you as a provider of the highest quality personalised outdoor adventure education.