Schoolchildren: do you KNOW that all of the teachers at your school are weirdos – ranging from the merely peculiar to the downright creepy/sinister – but when you try to tell this to your parents, they don’t believe you?

Grown-ups: do you remember feeling like this when you were at school?

Then have we got the perfect book for you!

Strange goings-on at Cudby Yaw Primary School are related by Lynda Thornhill (herself with “a background in teaching/schools/kids”, although she doesn’t specify further than that). Lynda says that writing “was always my dream job” and we think that she writes like a dream! (If you count nightmares.)

The illustrations are by Kay Johanna (Lynda specifically asked for them to be in back & white and “very dark”), who’s a Social Sciences student.

Think “Tales Of The Unexpected” crossed with “The Addams Family” only – in our honest opinion – even more nasty and even funnier.

Here’s a sneak preview of just 2 of the [shorter] chapters in “Ghastly School Shorts”, NOT selected at random… with the warning that other chapters are creepier. We don’t want to shock you TOO much right now.

Ghastly School Shorts

Chapter 1: Reception

It was the start of term at Cudby Yaw Primary School. Mr. Sickly-Sweet beamed encouragingly at his new class, whose parents had only moments ago finished sobbing into their handkerchiefs and sprinted from the playground, jostling each other to get out of the gates and air-punching their way to their cars.

“Good morning, boys and girls! What a lovely year we’re going to have together!” Mr. Sickly-Sweet began optimistically, as he did at the start of every year. “Now, I know that some of you are feeling a little bit sad and unsure at the moment. But don’t worry! Our lovely teaching assistant, Mrs. Bashir, is here to help us all. And today, children, you’re going to make lots of new friends to play with.”

Christopher looked around timidly at the other children and wondered vaguely why his mother hadn’t let him stay at home, as he usually did. Why had she made him come to this strange new place, with its dark, forbidding walls and impossibly high ceilings, when he could be at home playing with Christian, his younger brother?

Sensing his unease, Mrs. Bashir came towards Christopher and took him briskly by the hand, as she gave him a tour of the classroom and the outdoor play area that was reserved for the Reception children.

Several girls were whizzing around on tricycles, while a couple of children were happily splashing around in the mud kitchen. Christopher sat down on the edge of a large sandbox and reached out to pick up a toy digger that was half-buried in the sand.

Suddenly, his hand was pushed away roughly as a little girl with white-blonde curls addressed him crossly.

“You can’t play in the sandbox. It’s mine,” she scowled.

The teaching assistant stepped in. “Now Elspeth, I’m glad you’re enjoying the sandbox so much, but you need to remember that it’s not just yours. It’s for everyone to share.”

Tentatively, Christopher reached instead for a bright red bulldozer, but again, he was stopped in his tracks.

Elspeth, now red in the face, stomped right up to him and screamed, “Get out! Get out of my sandbox!”

Christopher’s eyes filled with tears as the teaching assistant reprimanded the girl once more. Mrs. Bashir then turned to comfort him by thumping him firmly and repeatedly between the shoulder blades.

“Don’t worry about Elspeth, sweetheart. She’s not that bad really, she just seems to have taken a real shine to that sandbox. I’m sure Elspeth will soon learn to share.”

At that moment, Mr. Sickly-Sweet came outside and addressed all of the children.

“Listen carefully, boys and girls! It’s time to come back inside the classroom. We have something very exciting to do now, and you will all get the chance to make some lovely new friends in this next lesson.”

Once back inside, Mr. Sickly-Sweet asked the class to sit down, and began putting various trays, bags, and boxes onto the children’s tables. On the next table, Christopher spotted Elspeth grabbing all of the equipment quickly, before her classmates got the chance to take any.

“Listen carefully, everybody!” Mr. Sickly-Sweet cried, his eyes glistening with glee. “We have plenty of drinking straws, Lego bricks, buttons, cardboard tubes, and lots of wool and string. You can all start making your new friends as soon as you’ve decided what you want to make them out of.”

Chapter 7: Dinnertime

All of the children at Cudby Yaw Primary School had school dinners every day. That is to say, all of the children at Cudby Yaw Primary School were given school dinners every day.

Generally, they tried to avoid actually eating them whenever possible, although after a gruelling morning (and all mornings were gruelling at Cudby Yaw Primary School), they were so utterly hungry by lunchtime that they would gladly have eaten a bathroom tile, or even a so-called Jolly Meal from the local fast-food restaurant, given half the chance.

“What is this even supposed to be?” Molly asked her friends in disgust as they sat in the cavernous dinner hall together one Wednesday lunchtime. “I mean, why does it always look like wallpaper paste?”

“Maybe it is wallpaper paste?” Stephen replied, his own face mirroring the repulsion he saw on Molly’s.

Alee agreed. “It wouldn’t be so bad if they’d only give us something different sometimes. This looks exactly the same as whatever it was we ate for lunch yesterday.”

“How disgusting!” Stephen giggled, “Imagine if we really were eating the same food every day! Although nothing would surprise me in this place.”

Molly nodded, because she couldn’t speak. She was too busy trying to chew her way through something tough and unidentifiable. Suddenly she winced painfully and spat her mouthful back onto her plate, holding her hand up to the side of her mouth.

“What on earth was that?” she yelled, as a trickle of blood oozed from her gum. “It was really hard, whatever it was!”

The bell rang to signal the end of lunch, just as Stephen noticed something. “Molly, your tooth!”

Molly had simultaneously realised that one of her lower incisors was now missing. She turned back towards the table where they had eaten, but the lunchtime supervisors had already cleared away their plates and were busily scraping their leftovers into what was delightfully known as the ‘slops bucket’.

“Ah well,” said Molly ruefully, “I guess I won’t be getting any money from the tooth fairy for that one.”

The next day, the three friends sat together again on one of the long benches that lined the dinner hall, gazing dolefully down at their plates as their appetites predictably dwindled.

“Same old grey slop as usual then,” grumbled Alee, picking up his spoon reluctantly.

“Yeah,” said Molly, “Although I’ve got something with a bit of white in. Hang on…. That’s…” Her face turned green and her stomach lurched as, for the first time ever, she finally recognised something on her plate.

“That’s my tooth…”


  1. I actually had relatively normal teachers in primary school. The sinister ones came in secondary school.

    But I’m really enjoying this book! (I’m privileged to have a copy of the whole manuscript… and it gets even better than this!)

  2. I used to be a teacher. Probably peculiar, but I hope not sinister!

    However, there were some right doozies on the staff of some of the schools in which I’ve worked. And the “Dinnertime” chapter brings back “fond” memories.

    I say no more.

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