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New direction gives new belief in learning

Shelley Crossan and Anne Manson admit that they were trouble. Both hated school and the teachers.

The 15-year-olds are currently well through their final year of compulsory education - at Reid Kerr College in Paisley - and are looking forward to the next stage of their lives as full-time further education students.

Shelley wants to do work experience with Marks and Spencer before taking a business course and Anne is desperate to start a higher national certificate in hairdressing. Such ambitions would have been unthinkable last summer.

"I had no confidence before I started New Directions," Shelley says. "I was rarely at school, I got into fights and I did not get on with the teachers and I got into trouble in classes."

Anne did not care much for the size of her school. She became fearful and stopped going or was excluded regularly.

They may have been hestitant about coming to college but now they can't stay away. They have tried new activities, met new people and been places they never thought they would.

Anne has even been on an Army residential week which she describes as brilliant. "I hated PE at school but now I am going to the gym," she says.

College is quite different. "There's no hustle and bustle of school and things like changing classes."

Shelley is another regular in the fitness suite. "I've never done so much and tried stuff I was never able to do at school," she says.

Both say their group of girls gels well and they can relate to the key workers. "You talk to them like a friend," Shelley says.

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