Social outcasts

8th October 2004 at 01:00
Meg Shakesheff, 17, is head girl of Wolverhampton Grammar, an independent school

"It must be difficult for a teacher to motivate a class to get on with a pupil who won't help himself or herself. But the teacher is vital in determining whether or not a pupil like this is going to make progress.

"It goes a long way if a teacher makes an effort to get to know you.

Support outside the classroom is crucial, because if you think teachers care about which bits of the lesson you enjoy most, you won't want to let them down and it makes you feel better about yourself.

"Pupils who are confident in themselves won't worry so much about their weight. Teachers should also move people around, make them mix. Popular people will tend to group together, but if you make them shift around they have to get to know somebody they wouldn't have naturally been attracted to and they might find something interesting about them.

"I recently went on a geography field trip with a crowd I hadn't previously mixed with, and I got to know people who had a lot about them. It was great. Circle time in PSHE is also a great way of breaking down barriers."

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