100-Word Fiction: ‘An Education’

The queue of kids had grown, their excitable faces turning into expressions of anguish as they waited. At a signal, each stepped forward and was met by a guardian who would inspect the child’s pockets and remove any money, sweets or small toys. Puzzle or colouring books were not permitted. Other banned items included art, musical and sports equipment, dictionaries, encyclopaedias or other reference materials. The guardians then provided each child with one workbook which had to be completed within a given time-slot. Late finishers and those requesting extra tuition received a punitive fine. ‘Know-it-alls’ were also to be discouraged.