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Disorganised boys

Meg Shakesheff, 17, is head girl of Wolverhampton grammar, an independent school

"The problem with disorganisation is that, the worse it gets, the less possibility there seems of a return to order. You get bogged down and believe you will never get on top of things again. Schools use, for instance, prep diaries to help students get organised, but there will always be those who can't bring themselves to use them.

"Having to study subjects in which you are not interested can worsen your disorganisation, with consequences for all your other subjects. I know students who have become masters of excuses because they've become so disorganised they've washed their hands of the whole thing; it's the easier route.

"The best thing to do, as this teacher did, is to put the ball back in the student's court. She asked him how he wanted to change things for the better, then made him responsible for making that work. She was on his case. She made him see that she cared enough not to let him slip through the cracks.

"Teachers need to pay close attention to whether students are coping, because any who aren't will use disruption to distract themselves from what they really need to do."

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