Published: 4 May, 2012
• MUCH is being said and done to address the needs of vulnerable young people in Islington. We have had three generations who have grown up with enforced cuts.
But the approach to this problem is often misguided.
The way in which we condone bad behaviour with treats does not work.
Over and over again children who are badly behaved, and who have frequently learned to behave badly, are pushed forward for resources.
The good, compliant, quiet child suffers silently.
My daughter is one such.
She has overcome extreme health problems and enormous learning difficulties but, because she has always been nice, hard-working and eager to please, even her original psychology assessment, due when she was 18 months, didn’t appear until she was eight.
The apology was trite: it hadn’t been typed because the psychologist hadn’t had a secretary – for seven years?
I paid for everything my daughter had.
She became a talented dancer.
Taught by Russians, she would often be in the studio all day and again in the evenings.
Because of her difficulties with the three Rs dance schools couldn’t admit her because they need good academic qualifications to qualify for grants.
So, again the child with extraordinary talent and who was eager to please had problems.
In fact, she was placed on a gifted and talented register.
So we centred on private schools, and she soon achieved very high status, so high, in fact, that when she was 16 she went to Havana in Cuba to do special training with the Ballet Nacional.
They have invited her back.
When she applied for education maintenance allowance (EMA), she didn’t get it because the Russian ballet school was not a registered EMA school.
No matter, she carried on.
Last year, however, she decided that she would transfer to a central dance centre part-time and, because dancers are frequently out of work, she decided to do a beauty course at City and Islington College.
She was told she would be eligible for a bursary, but, because of problems with paperwork, she has had only one clear week of money, despite starting college in September last year.
My daughter has attended lessons and worked hard towards her exams.
What reward has she had?
Were she a constant absentee, disruptive or criminally minded, a wealth of professionals would be providing support and, as I have very clear proof, creating a smokescreen in order to cover a great deal of that behaviour.
Isn’t it time that the good kids got a fair crack?
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED