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Case Study 1: Kicked into touch by Football

Patrick, an electrician's son, was identified as academically able at primary school. But he insisted on attending an inner-city comprehensive rather than take the entrance examination for a more academic school.

His sister was a student at Oxford University but he described himself as "never one to push myself, I tend to go with the flow". He was in the top set throughout secondary school but eventually left at 16 with just two high-grade GCSEs.

"Where I live, it was opposite the park, and I was really into football. Every night I may have had the best of intentions in the world to sit in my bedroom revising, but when I saw my friends outside that was it," he said. Patrick had always been relaxed about study, but he was devastated by his results. He went to a local college to sit another six GCSEs, but several years later he is still doing fairly basic clerical work.

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