Emery Centre was established in 1973 and it operated in West Town for nine years, under the same head teacher and the same full-time teacher with only minor structural changes. The Centre was independent catering for a number of schools in the area. Its role was to provide 'a part time programme of alternative education for pupils in their final compulsory year', and it admitted pupils who presented a variety of problems in the mainstream. The friendly atmosphere was achieved through a good balance of discipline and caring, evident in staff attitude and underlying the system of rewards. The most serious methodological problem arose from the fact that information had to be collected in retrospect, and there was no easy way of validating pupil accounts. Memory loss as well as personal interest in justifying one's behaviour had to be overcome by observation, consultation of the unit records, interviews with the unit staff and scrutiny of internal structure of pupil accounts.