Youth comment

I started bunking off at the end of year nine and then did it through the whole of year 10. I was finding it difficult to concentrate on lessons. I asked for help but they weren’t listening.

Certain lessons were hard, like maths. It started off where I would miss one lesson and then I would go to school for two lessons, then from missing one or two it got more.

I asked the teachers to help me but often they found it difficult to understand me because, at that time, I didn’t have much English. When I was in year seven, I had a teacher to help me all the time but I said I didn’t want their help any more because I wanted to do stuff on my own.

The first couple of times I didn’t go to school I was at home but my parents found out and I got into trouble. There was really no point in bunking anyway because it was nothing special. We would just go to Lewisham or whatever.

Eventually the school-based police officer and the school’s attendance officer came to my house to talk to my parents and I got into a lot of trouble, so that was another reason why I went back to school.

I started going to school again when I came into year 11 and i’ve been coming every day since because I realised I needed my education for the future. I want to be a nurse and work in a hospital. The people I bunked off with are still my friends and I try to persuade them to come to school every day.

I still find it difficult to go to school some days. But the teachers can see I’m trying to change.

It would be good if I could have a private teacher. I go to this project on Tuesdays where I get help with coursework. It’s going OK.

My advice to people in year 10 who are bunking is that when you get to year 11 you will realise it’s really hard to catch up.

I think kids wouldn’t bunk off so much if there was one day of the week, maybe Friday, where we could wear our own clothes. It would be good too if we could have more social things, like parties.

Leydi Estrada, who is 15, is Portuguese and a student at Waverley school in south east London

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