Danny King - School for Scumbags

Year of Publication: 
2008
Image: 

Plot outline: Habitual teenage delinquent Wayne Banstead is expelled from yet another school for sticking up the tuck shop and finds himself hauled off to Gafin School for Misdirected Boys: a ‘special school’ for ‘special children’. It plays host to the worst of the worst, the cream of teenage offending – thieves, bullies, arsonists and flashers. The teachers should have their work cut out, but things aren’t quite what they seem at Gafin School. Far from rehabilitating the boys, the teachers seem intent on instructing them in how to get away with things. The pros, the cons and the downfalls are all set out like an algebra equation. Even the school motto is a bit dodgy: Heliarnos Eto Umminass, or Help Yourselves Boys.

With careful tutoring, Wayne Banstead and his classmates are about to take a step up into the big leagues. But in the big leagues, the big boys play for keeps. With scores of dead arms, a playground's worth of 'F' words and a slam-bam robbery at its heart, this tale is definitely not for kids.

Influences: Naturally people are going to assume this is inspired by the Harry Potter books, but to be honest it wasn’t really and most comparisons stop there. The idea actually came from a gag that appeared in The Burglar Diaries, where Bex was talking about how professional Gerry was in which he said: “… basically, if there was a qualification in burglary, he could pass it no problem. Me, I’d probably just break into the classroom and steal the exam papers, which I imagine would count as a pass as well.” This rather fine gag always stuck in my mind and from this I fleshed it out into School For Scumbags.