Letter : Refugees are model pupils

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The Independent Online
Sir: "Neglected, hurt, brutalised children behave badly," writes Nigel Evans sweepingly (letter, 26 April). How does he explain the model behaviour and the excellent motivation of refugee children in mainstream classrooms?

I work in a school where children from the world's trouble-spots make up 30 per cent of the intake. If any have experienced neglect, hurt and brutality, they have. Who could doubt it of children from such war zones as Sri Lanka, Angola, Rwanda, Somalia or Kurdistan? All too frequently they have witnessed the execution of their own parents and some have themselves been mutilated.

Now here, they struggle to master a curriculum that is for them in a foreign language. At the end of the school day many of them volunteer for extra classes and afterwards return to a study-bedroom where they work on alone. In general, although this comes out only in the most confidential moments, their greatest source of wonderment is that in a school with art rooms, science laboratories, gymnasia, sports fields, a library, technology workrooms, two IT centres, subject classrooms - and all this for free - there is so much indifference to education.

David Wallace

Hove, East Sussex

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