Annual Talent Contest

During lessons, Griselina began sitting close to Lucy to copy her work. Whenever she did, Griselina immediately put her hand up and told the teacher Lucy had been copying. Each time the teacher checked, the two workbooks did indeed have identical answers and Lucy was scolded. This happened so often that Lucy had to explain herself to Miss Whippet. She was labelled a cheat because Griselina was an accomplished con-artist. One chilly afternoon, a poster was put on the school noticeboard.

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Later that morning in school, Gideon hung around the corridor between lessons. His eyes darted at the pupils hurrying along. He leant over to his entourage, “What a bunch of losers,” he sneered. Then he saw him. Jack Nobody was talking to someone and it looked like he was smiling. Gideon narrowed his eyes and walked toward him. Smashing his shoulder into the smaller boy, Gideon leant in and hissed “Dickhead!!” As the bigger boy strolled away, Jack’s eyes widened as he rubbed his shoulder.

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Rallying Cry

The Gronk-LaTwonks decided to get straight down to the serious business of domination. No scruples could be afforded while clawing their way up the social ladder. This was a quest to force their way into a position of respect and envy. Over breakfast one cold, dark morning, Gronk and Munter sat their children down. They focussed Griselina and Gideon on the framed rules, which hung on the paint-peeled wall. They were proud of the rules.

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Every morning, in all weather conditions, Miss Whippet lined the children up for inspection. Shoes were polished, trousers or skirts crisply ironed and the smart blue blazers spotless and displaying the appropriately coloured badges. Miss Whippet liked to rule with military strictness. She walked up and down the line with hands firmly behind her back. Sometimes she had to pick faults with Bosworth, although she did so with the proper decorum those children warranted. A whisper here or gentle coaxing there. But Goodson had to be brought down to size irrespective of the standard of their uniform.

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On the educational front, english, maths and science were taught, but they were periphery on the curriculum. The school’s raison d’être coincided with Miss Whippet’s agenda, which was imparting the fundamentals of Snobbier-Than-Thou to Bosworth House. This superior role was entrusted to the self-confessed hugely talented Mrs DeVilliers, who was supremely qualified for the task. She was the wife of Gerard DeVilliers, or Fathead as he liked to be called. Mrs DeVilliers regarded herself as the finest dressed, most pre-eminently intelligent lady in the Snook. She was of the view everyone should at least try to emulate her impressiveness. The Snobbier-Than-Thou curriculum was how she lived every moment, so she was well placed to impart this way of life.

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Acceptable Fraud

Miss Whippet especially liked allocating children to the appropriate house upon their entry to Snookington School and also appointing prefects to the senior year. Her decisions would affect the children for years. They stayed in their respective houses unless, in extreme circumstances, the difficult decision had to be made to demote one or more children to Goodson. Even that would be a good day for Miss Whippet as she enjoyed inflicting psychological harm.

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This state of affairs was reinforced by the prefect system. All prefects came from Bosworth and they naturally treated their friends and most others from Bosworth well. Those children in a position of authority wore a badge embossed with ‘Prefect’ on their lapels. Goodson pupils tried to avoid their counterparts from Bosworth whenever possible, but any contact with a prefect never ended well. The head prefect enforced a sub-set of school rules and managed the prefect rota system. Prefects patrolled the school buildings and grounds in twos during break time, which enabled the teachers to hide away in the staff room where they had tea, coffee, cakes and a selection of à la carte meals. The teaching staff disliked interacting with children during breaks, so they abdicated all power to the prefects during these times. 

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