KING Alfred's Community and Sports College, Wantage, has adopted a pioneering stance in supporting students with problems.

Students who have been through difficulties themselves are being trained to support others in similar situations.

Counselling skills courses are run for older students, so they can help younger pupils.

The college, which is on three sites, also operates a 'Peace Patrol', offering a drop-in service for students run by fellow students.

Resident counsellor Nick Luxmoore, who is behind some of the initiatives, has just had a book published, Working with Anger and Young People, which highlights and discusses the issue of anger among young people today.

At a time when young people can be banned from shopping centres simply for looking threatening, his book has received national coverage of its argument that young people are often angry as a way of covering up other feelings.

Mr Luxmoore said: "Anger gets you noticed and makes other people nervous. So it can be very useful for young people.

"But I think it's important not to be scared of young people's anger, and not to take it at face value.

"Sometimes young people behave angrily because that's their way of saying that they're feeling hurt, lost, afraid or sad."

He continued: "Sometimes young people are angry because they care passionately - not because they want to be awkward.

"The most important thing is to listen to what the anger is really about."

Josephine Bloggs, a 15-year-old student studying for her GCSEs next year, said: "Everyone gets angry, however old or young they are. But young people always seem to be portrayed as the bad guys.

"We are the ones accused of getting violent or losing control. It's not fair.

"It's good when adults listen to what we're really trying to say."

Mr Luxmoore, who has been running workshops on the subject for other professionals in Oxfordshire for many years, believes that parents and professionals feel just as angry as young people.

He said: "The job is hard, whether you're a parent or a professional.

"It can feel as if anger is always getting in the way, disrupting progress and destroying relationships.

"It can leave everyone feeling helpless and frustrated."

Referring to the new initiatives, the college principal, Nick Young, said: "This work is never about tolerating rude or antisocial behaviour - far from it.

"But it is about learning not to jump to conclusions, not being afraid of strong feelings, and allowing young people the chance to be heard."