Your school days, so the saying goes, are the happiest days of your life. But what happens to those who are excluded from mainstream school - children who are so scarred by personal trauma that normal classroom interaction is simply not possible? Or those who cannot attend through serious illness, accident, or special educational needs? If they are very lucky, they will get a one-to-one tutor, funded by the Education Authority, to help restore their often fractured lives.In Nine Lives, Ruth Brooks, a former personal tutor, recounts just a few of their heart-rending stories - children like Cassie, Aisha, Wayne, and 'Ivan the Terrible'. She digs deep to find the clues and unlock the mystery behind each child's problems - and invites the reader to do the same. With warmth, love, and a lot of detective work, she finds a unique way to reach every child, challenging us to see the vulnerability behind the behaviour. In a time of economic austerity and severe budgetary cuts, Ruth's direct honesty and passionate championing of the vital role played by one-to-one tuition encourages an urgent re-think by policy makers and politicians.Through a series of fly-on-the-wall sketches, Nine Lives highlights some of the educational and social problems faced by countless children and their families in the first decade of the 21st Century.