George goes To School
George wasn’t very sure of this whole idea. He’d told his mum and dad that he was perfectly happy with his nursery, thanks very much, and he really didn’t want to go to “Big School.” But they insisted. They said he’d love it, that his teacher was really nice and that he’d get his lunch there and get to play outside afterwards.
Then the whole ‘uniform’ thing started. When George asked his mum what a uniform was, she told him it was the clothes he would wear to school. As usual, they didn’t go to the shops. No, a man and a woman came to his house. First, he had to put on a shirt. It was quite nice. He quite liked the pointy collar. Then there was a sweat shirt; it was dark blue with a red badge on it. Then there was a blazer, a bit like the jackets dad wore when he was doing special things. It was navy blue with a kind of red ribbon round it, and it had the badge too. George did ask the question; was he allowed to wear these clothes? They had badges on them, and usually he wasn’t allowed to wear things with badges or labels. His dad told him he was and that all the other boys and girls would wear them too. So that was quite good. He’d be the same as everyone else for a change.
But then came the trousers. Shorts again! When was he ever going to be able to wear long trousers? George huffed a bit about that but his dad gave him the usual look and he knew there was no point. Dad told him the trousers had a special pocket, and inside it there was a whistle. Apparently, it was a special whistle and if George found himself frightened or he met people he didn’t trust then he could blow on it lots of times. He blew on it, and it made a really loud noise. Then Albert the Bodyguard came in, but his dad told him it was just a practice, so he went out again. His dad told him that if he blew on the whistle at school, someone would come and help him. Strange!
They went back to his clothes. His new jacket was dark blue with a red collar and it had a hood as well. It also had lots of pockets. Oh help, they’d left the worst ‘til last! They always did that. They thought he’d be in such a good mood that he’d say it was ok. But the shoes weren’t ok. And neither were the long red socks. It was happening again, just like when he went to Poland. He had to wear long socks then too. Things got a bit better when his mum told him he’d have to change his shoes when he went into school. He’d have to put on plimsolls, but he still had to wear the socks. He couldn’t change them! George didn’t quite see the point in the shoe changing thing but he went along with it because his dad told him everybody else would do the same. It was all a bit weird. Then came the bag. It was dark blue and red, like the jacket, but it had a place for a photo of him on the front. When George saw the photo, he asked why it was there. His mum told him it was so he could tell it was his bag, because everyone else would have the same one, with their photo on it too. Sometimes George really didn’t get adults. Everyone had to be the same at school, but when he asked for clothes with labels like Mothercare or John Lewis to be like other boys he wasn’t allowed.
Then came the one thing he really, really, really hated: a haircut. George sighed when he saw the hairdresser. He knew there was no escape but he still hated it. He hated the overall thingy that went around him because it scratched his neck, then it got even worse when the hairs got stuck between the collar of the overall and George himself. The hairdresser was pretty quick though. It was almost as if she knew George hated her. When she was finished, George noticed some of his curls had gone. She’d cut his hair in a funny line at the front, and told his mum it would keep his curls in place when they grew back. George looked at the blond hair on the floor, and so did his mum. George asked her why she was sniffling. Did she have the cold? But she said she didn’t, she was fine.
Still, the more he thought about it, the more George was looking forward to going to school. On the day, he was up early, but he was too excited to eat his breakfast. His sister Charlotte ate his then went off with nanny to the playroom. Apparently mum couldn’t come because she was feeling sick, so dad helped him with the shoes that he was going to take off anyway, and with the coat, blazer and bag which were the same as everyone else’s despite the fact he wasn’t supposed to be the same as everyone else, and then he got in the car. Having a coat and a blazer on made him feel a bit lumpy, and too warm. Maybe they’d get there soon and he could take them off. Then something dawned on George. It was like a big ‘Oh Oh,’ moment he sometimes saw on CBBies. His mum was sick, she was in bed. Oh oh, there was another Charlotte on the way! That was it. Another Charlotte? Why did they need another one? Why did he always have to be the Big Brother?
George got distracted when he saw Albert in the car with the driver. To be quite honest, George wasn’t sure about that because Albert watched him all the time. Albert gave him a quick smile, then Dad got in too and George sat between them. Dad let him look at a piece of paper which had a school lunch menu on it. He had to choose what he wanted to eat at school. Dad read out the choices and after each one, George made a face and a sicky sound like he’d heard his mum making except he was only pretending. Who would want to eat cous cous with pomegranate pearls and sun dried tomatoes? Not him. George wanted sausages and beans but there weren’t any on the list. Eventually, after changing his mind lots of times, George chose fresh grilled tuna with summer salad, whatever that was. Then, he sat back and looked out of the window. It seemed kind of, well, normal out there. There weren’t any people standing with flags, or waving. The roads were quite empty, and there weren’t even any motorbikes in front of them or behind like there usually were.
It only seemed like two minutes and they were at the school. There were some people missing though. Where were the Papawazzi? George had seen them loads of times before. They had huge cameras and even ladders. This time, there was only one man with a camera. He didn’t have a ladder. As got out of the car, dad reminded George to wave. He wasn’t quite sure why because his dad never waved at the camera. Dad just smiled, but George did as he was told. He decided to wave with both hands, and he smiled at the same time. The man with the camera went mad with all his clicking. It was like having some kind of monster which clicked all the time. The noise was incredible, but George did as he was told; he kept walking, gave a few waves and then they were in school. It was quite familiar. George remembered that he’d been there a few weeks before, with Mum and Albert. There weren’t any photographers then.
Just outside the door he met a nice lady with a pink dress on. She took his hand and dad had the other one. She said she liked his backpack and told him where to hang it up along with his coat, and blazer. George’s peg was nearest the classroom, so he’d remember that. The nice lady offered to help him change his shoes, but George was having none of that! He’d do it himself thanks very much! A few other boys and girls were hanging up their stuff. Some were crying, not wanting their parents to leave, but George just said a quick goodbye and left his dad to it. He didn’t see Albert. Maybe he was on a break or something.
They waited about for a while, then they were all taken into a big room. There were loads of toys in it, and posters with numbers and letters on the walls. George was given a seat at a table right at the back of the room, next to a wall with pictures on it. He sat down and looked around him. Tristram Baron Cole was beside him. He was one of the ones who was crying. George raised his eyes, but he tried to be kind,” I know how you feel. I was quite scared when I met the Prime Minister of Poland, and the Prime Minister of Canada, well he was really scary, tried to high five me. I told him to get lost!” but Tristram wouldn’t stop crying so George had another look round, and then he saw it: a green button. Maybe if he pressed it, it would make a noise. George leaned back in his chair and tried to reach it. Just as he was about to press it though, someone caught his eye. It was Albert. He was sitting at the front of the room facing George. He had an apron on, like the lady who stood beside him. George couldn’t work out why Albert was there, then it all became clear; the lady, his teacher said, “Hello everyone. My name is Miss Walter and I’m going to be your teacher, and this,” she pointed to Albert, “is our classroom helper. We’re all going to call him Albert. Say Good Morning to Albert.”
As the boys and girls around him chanted, “GOOD MORNING ALBERT,” George could hardly speak. Albert was going to be one of his teachers!
George looked at the green button again, then at Albert, who shook his head at the same time as his mouth formed a silent, “No,” so he left it. Then he thought maybe he could try and get out to his jacket to find his whistle because he really needed to cheer himself up!