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Mentors can solve truancy

We are told the Government is failing to deal with truanting. Blaming the Government, teachers, parents and their children is not the response that will ever change a child or teenager's attitudes, or make them actually ask to go back to school.

What each child needs, no matter who they are, is a reliable, mentor who helps them develop a creativeconstructive interest chosen by the young person. This mentor can be put in place even before a child goes to school, allowing prevention of social problems at their roots.

I am now 63 and have been been volunteering to support young people all my adult life through a trust I founded.I have seen young people transformed.

Sharing a single activity with a non-judgemental adult outside home and school allows the young person to feel heard and respected.

Teachers and parents are in a position of authority and too close to children, especially teenagers, for them to listen and respond. This why mentors are vital not only to prevent truanting, but also crime, drug-taking and alcoholism. An hour a week can make this change. The chosen interest acts as a fulcrum around which the child's life can evolve.

Margie McGregor, "Creative inspirations" West Wing. Hordley House, Wootton Woodstock, Oxon

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