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At my senior school there was a varied catchment area, from quite select well off districts to the lower end ‘council estates’, but nonetheless it was all in all the more affluent part of outer London, or ‘stock-broker belt’ and so in no way comparable to the East End of London or Bronx like areas of New York; it was what is known as Metroland, or the residential area of north-west London which sprang up along with the building of the London Underground to the further reaches of Hertfordshire in the early part of the 1900s.
In those days however, there was no speak of special needs children, at least to us school kids, but thinking about it now it seems more than obvious that there were indeed more than a few who would fit into that category. There were a few who seemed really retarded in the clinical sense, and others who were not necessarily slow academically, but certainly disinterested, and there were others who I would now think of as psychopathic, and so you tended to have your own group of friends and try and stay as far away as possible from the nutters! Unfortunately, this was not always possible.
However, growing up with such a mismatch of personalities and situations was and is, I’m sure not uncommon, and could perhaps be seen as good preparation to future life, in some perverse kind of way!

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