Roald Dahl Day: would you want to teach his child heroes?

It's Roald Dahl day! And although he remains one of the best-loved children's authors around, that doesn't mean that you'd necessarily want his characters in your class...

Sarah Cunnane

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Letter home

Dear Mr BFG,

We would like to thank you for taking the time to talk to us on the telephone. As mentioned, while Sophie is making excellent progress, we are slightly concerned about elements of your conduct.

Since Sophie has been at this school, you have caused several thousand pounds’ worth of damage to school buildings, including the unfortunate incident in which you flattened the school gate – an incident that led to the school being closed for two days due to health and safety concerns.

In addition, we do not feel it is appropriate for you to be on school property during the school day. Sophie’s teacher has reported feeling unsettled by occasionally looking up to find you staring in through the window.

While we recognise that parents and guardians are eager to ensure that their child is happy, safe and well educated, we simply cannot allow such behaviour to continue. We would therefore ask that you no longer accompany Sophie to school, and allow her to catch the school bus, which stops at the end of your road.

Any alert of your presence on school property will result in criminal action being taken against you. We apologise for having to take such draconian measures, but we simply cannot afford to have you disrupting our school any further.

Exclusion panel

Dear William,

The meeting of the governing body last week considered the decision by the head to permanently exclude your son Danny. The governing body, after carefully considering the representations made and all the available evidence, has decided to uphold Danny's permanent exclusion.

The reasons for the governing body’s decision are as follows: just before homework was due to be set, Danny offered his teacher some raisins. The teacher ate the raisins and woke up several hours later tied to his chair. On searching Danny’s desk, several narcotics were discovered – and although he maintained that he had no knowledge of these, we have been shown evidence of a post on the social media site Instagram of Danny stood on his teacher’s desk being cheered by his peers under the caption, “CHAMPION OF THE WORLD #parttwobitches #yousnoozeyoulose #druggedraisins #epicLOLs #YOLO”. In addition, several of his school mates had left comments on the picture thanking him for the “well bants lesson”.  

You have the right to a review of this decision by an independent review panel.

Yours sincerely,

Clerk to the Governing Body

Radicalisation concern form

Child's name: George Kranky

George was caught working in the science block at lunchtime, using a bunsen burner and materials he appeared to have picked up during a day wandering round school. When he was confronted, he claimed he was trying to recreate a "marvellous" recipe he'd first made at home.

He was asked what the recipe was for; George said he could not remember exactly, but that he and his dad had been trying to perfect it. On looking at the result of George's experiment, our head of science found that the compound was highly flammable and possibly even explosive. The authorities have been notified, and handed a sample of the mixture. George is on internal exclusion until the matter is resolved. 

School report

Name: Wormwood, Matilda

Matilda is an extremely bright pupil who is performing well above the level of her peers. She has a good curiosity and thirst for learning, and is a popular member of the class.

To improve, she needs to realise that others around her are learning as well – occasionally, it would be nice if she gave others the chance to respond to questions, even if she does know the answer.

I fear she may have been treated with favouritism by her last teacher; if special attention is not being paid to her, she occasionally acts out by leading the class in song, or by levitating a book or two. She has been told that such behaviour is unacceptable, and has lost several lunchtimes because of it – she seems rather blasé about such punishment, regularly telling staff that, “It’s hardly The Chokey, is it?”

We’d be interested in having a quick chat at some point soon to discuss how we can best meet Matilda’s very individual needs as she progresses on to junior school.

Safeguarding report

Child’s name: James Trotter

Incident location: The zoo

Incident details: On the tour of the zoo, James became hysterical on entrance to Rhinotopia. Although staff tried to calm him down, he couldn’t be controlled and he ran away – the parent who chased him lost him around about Hippopalooza.

As soon as it was realised a child was missing, the zoo staff were notified and the remaining children were taken to Jungle Central to be supervised by a core of staff, while others went out to look for James. He was found in Bugburg, deep in a one-sided conversation with a centipede, who James described as his best friend.

On further conversation with James, it was discovered that his parents died in an unfortunate rhinoceros incident – for some reason, this has not been put in his file. Could someone investigate, please? We have scheduled in some sessions with the school counsellor for the next few weeks for James to discuss the trip and discern if his anthropomorphisation of bugs is indicative of a deeper issue.  


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Sarah Cunnane picture

Sarah Cunnane

Sarah Cunnane is Head of Editorial Content Curation at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Sarah_Cunnane

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