SOUTH Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck admits she “went off the rails” as she struggled to cope with dyspraxia during her secondary education.
The 34-year-old was diagnosed with the developmental disorder when she was 27, but suffered from the symptoms for years before that.
Dyspraxia affects the way the brain processes information and is associated with problems of perception, language and thought.
Mrs Lewell-Buck said: “I had a bit of an up and down time at school because I was really withdrawn for a long time, then when I wasn’t withdrawn I became really naughty.
“I would play truant and often be found outside the headteacher’s room writing lines, or being sent home or kept on report.
“I think a lot of it was I’d had enough of having to try twice as hard as everyone else.
“Things seemed to come so easy to them, but I had to work and work at it.”
Despite her difficulties, she was always bright and realised when she was doing her GCSEs if she didn’t sort herself, she wasn’t going to have a good future.
“I’ve always known if you’ve got good grades and a good education, you have got more doors open to you,” she said.
“So I started to knuckle down for my A-levels and I did all right in the end.”
Mrs Lewell-Buck attended what is now St Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Hebburn, which is not in her constituency, but she said she would pay a visit if invited.
Since leaving school, she has gone on to university and carved out a career as a social worker before becoming an MP.
But she has had stints on the dole and about 16 different jobs, including cleaning and call centre work.
But she believes this stands her in good stead for life as an MP.