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Truancy Benefits

How lucky are today’s school children?

The newspapers reported last week that a school in England once paid its more obstreperous pupils to slip classes while school inspectors were visiting.  Blimey!  They didn’t do that kind of thing when I was at school – or rather when I wasn’t at school. 

Yes, I admit it: I played truant from time to time, often working myself into a state of exhaustion bicycling around the county, or climbing trees, or performing daring Indian attacks on wagon trains disguised as convoys of cars, or once in a while, in later years even, standing in the rain at midweek football matches.  And not a penny was I paid for any of it. 

Unfortunately, the schools I went to were stern, strait-laced institutions, the curricula utterly devoid of humour, creativity or imagination.  Far from paying me to stay away, they regarded my occasional absences as punishable offences, which was quite absurd since, whenever I did deign to attend class, the teachers seemed to expend what little flair they possessed working out how to get rid of me. 

For Pete’s sake, all they had to do was offer money, and I’d have disappeared in a flash.

Now I come to think of it, one day I did just that, and without so much as tuppence by way of compensation. 

Maybe they weren’t such dullards after all.

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