‘One of my students told me that we’d kept him alive’

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One evening in October, a former student, Nathan Clifford, retweeted me.

It led to a conversation. What he told me left me speechless, immensely proud and simultaneously guilty.

“The support I got at college, quite honestly, kept me alive,” he said.

I taught Nathan PE at Richard Taunton College 12 years ago. He was part of the sports academy and I coached him basketball. He was a smart player. It was because Nathan was a “thinker of the game” that staff put his unusually fragile behaviour down to “big game nerves”.

As his “episodes” became more regular, we became more dismissive, with his ...

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