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'Some people just don't get on at school'

Fifteen-year-old Fiona has been attending the Crannog Project for just over a year. She started truanting from school when she was in Primary 7.

"I didn't like school. It did my head in. All of it did my head in.

"The whole school is a state, the teachers moan about everything and I hated it," she says.

"I missed quite a lot of school, it was usually whole days or half days. I used to take whole days off and stay in my bed or be with friends."

Fiona did her work at school and was not being bullied, but she increasingly spent time with friends and with boys, and took to smoking and drinking.

"I missed at least a day or two a week and then I started going less and less. Family and friends did try and help most of the time. My mum came into the school. They tried to help but it didn't work. Normally the teachers just gave me extra homework to do and then gave me pink slips if I didn't do it."

Fiona was excluded from school once and after that didn't go back.

"My guidance teacher tried to help. I did extra maths after school. After I stopped going to school, they organised one maths class a week for me. I don't really like maths, but I'm just brainy at maths. I got a one in my Standard grade. I'm proud of that.

"I started at Crannog just a year ago. I used to come in and we did lessons and we talked about a lot of things. We talked about drinking and smoking.

We even played sports.

"I enjoy going there. I just did my Standard grades. I got the one and three threes. I am now working part-time and coming to Crannog.

"I had a lot of friends at school but they didn't miss school, they were all goody two shoes.

"Yeah, I guess I missed out, but I can't change it now."

Ms Henderson, who has worked with Fiona at Crannog, adds: "When Fiona came here we talked about drinking, smoking and other things and she didn't miss one class. She's done really well here.

"Some people just don't get on at school, it's not their thing."

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