Education: `She showed him how to deal with his anger - they made toys which he could smash'

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The Independent Online
When Adrian Thompson was eight, his mother, Shirley, received a letter from his school saying that he was in danger of being excluded unless his behaviour improved.

Now Adrian is ten and, his mother says, he is still in school thanks to the help he has received from the Children's Society's Shine project (Schools Have Inclusive Education).

She says: "He was on the verge of being excluded for difficult behaviour. He was very hyperactive and he kept throwing things across the classroom. He was also being bullied and, every time something went wrong, he felt that he was blamed for it.

"But he didn't know how to express himself. When I asked, he said he was fine."

His behaviour problems meant that he was also struggling with his work.

Part of the trouble, Mrs Thompson says, is that she is a nurse working night shifts so that she was not always available when Adrian came home from school.

Jill, the project worker, persuaded Adrian to talk, and a pattern was worked out between Mrs Thompson, Jill and his tutor so that one of them was always available to talk.

Adrian, who attends Trinity St Mary's primary school in Balham, south- west London, enjoyed his one-to-one sessions with Jill each week. "He felt someone was interested in him and that gave him confidence," his mother said. "She showed him how to deal with his anger. They made toys which he could smash.

"I was frightened about what would happen when he went back into class but there has been no problem. He has learnt to read and he now likes school.

"I don't know what we would have done without the help. There needs to be a system so that parents and teachers get together and communi- cate properly."