Assisted place helped isolated child

20th June 1997 at 01:00
My son completed his assisted place last summer and I feel sad that similar children are to be the first victims of the new Government. I was divorced and there was no way I could have afforded the fees.

He attended a state primary school. The teachers were excellent and took a lot of trouble. I wonder whether we would be so lucky 10 years further on with all the current pressures in schools. However, he did get bored. I was told that they had not had a child like him in 27 years. We were sent to child guidance where I was told to treat him as a mental nurse would. There was no discussion of whether he might be genuinely frustrated at school. I was told he could be in a remand home at 13.

What a relief his assisted place was. The school would say: "Yes, clever boys are like that" or "There was one like him last year". He had a very good circle of friends. He is now at Oxford and when he does work, he says it is really nice to be stretched and to have someone to share it with.

I used to teach at the local comprehensive, which achieved good results. There were children like my son there but they were isolated - perhaps there was one per class. They tended to hide their abilities until the sixth form and were not much liked by their peers.

BARBARA EDWARDS 12 Oxford Road Guildford, Surrey

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