A School Called Monkey

The time has surely come to give our schools much sillier names, argues Frank passionately…

According to a report in the Guardian the other day, the following are the names of certain schools in South Africa. Official names, note, not nicknames:

Thighs of a Virgin, At the Buttocks, Prison, Stab Him, His Death, Slaughter, Monkey, Pickpocket, Drink, Rob Him, and Look for Spear.

In this country, of course, at least in the state sector, we no longer have schools as such. The establishments purporting to be schools would more accurately be called self-esteem ‘n’ diversity awareness community hubs. In fact, I’m surprised they have not been “rebranded” accordingly, given successive governments’ fondness for such tweaking.

But it seems to me the South African practice could serve as a useful example to those setting up the new free schools. Why plump for Hillydale or Larkrise when you could just pluck words or phrases which suggest something of the school’s ethos, or are indeed merely random? (I would like to have gone to a school called Monkey.)

Off the top of my head, I would suggest Puny, Godforsaken, Stale Poptarts, At Wits’ End, Mordant Otter, and Pencilcase. Having said that, if I were actually setting up a free school, it would be well nigh impossible to resist the temptation to call it St Custards.

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About Author Profile: Frank Key

Frank Key is a London-based writer, blogger and broadcaster best known for his Hooting Yard blog, short-story collections and his long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, which has been broadcast weekly on Resonance FM since April 2004. By Aerostat to Hooting Yard - A Frank Key Reader, an ideal introduction to his fiction, is published for Kindle by Dabbler Editions. Mr Key's Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives was published in October 2015 by Constable and is available to buy online and in all good bookshops.

One thought on “A School Called Monkey

  1. andrewnixon@blueyonder.co.uk'
    December 7, 2012 at 13:55

    self-esteem ‘n’ diversity awareness community hubs is very good.

    Brit the Elder grew up in Rhodesia and locals used to adopt random English words as first names. He knew a Wheelbarrow, a Sixpence, a Twig and a Pumpkin. Bit like Hollywood celebrities.

    ‘Rob Him’ and ‘Stab Him’ sound horribly non-random though. ‘At the Buttocks’ simply defies comment.

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