Here at Homeward, I am very proud of the free education we offer young children.
I am, of course, the chairman of the Board of Governors for Doctor Augustus Lyre's Select School for Young Gentleman (An unfortunate name - his real name is simply 'Liar'. He usually spells it 'Lyre' - only sometimes he forgets, being absent-minded, and signs his letters A.Liar, and this amuses the boys very much)
The school is very large, and does have a lot of pupils. One room is so long that it is hard for the Doctor to see the boys - but it is full of underground passages and if a boy wants to see him he justs dives into a hole by his desk, walks along a passage and pops up near the Doctor's desk.
Every tower, at Homeward, has its own school, each with a different ethos, so there is plenty of parental choice.
However, The King of the Badgers has insisted that Badgertown must have 'free' schools. I don't really understand what he means by this - after all, all the schools are free to attend - even Doctor Lyre's.
I suspect that he was put up to it by the Badfort Crowd - they have accused me of being dictatorial and far too controlling. Utter nonsense!
Of course this has resulted in allsorts of madcap schools being set up.
Steiner Brashburg has set up a Steiner school. I know that you will be thinking, like myself, what on earth does an antique dealer know about education?
Well, he has the pupils dancing around in a most strange manner and insists it is good for their health.
Frankly, he is barking mad.
Not surprisingly, the Badfort Crowd have got in on the act. Beaver Hateman has set up the Sickford Foundation. He has only managed to get 37 pupils despite offering them a free school uniform (made from sackcloth) free Scob fish and Black Tom, and a state-of-the-art little red ePod.
The school is run along military lines. The pupils are trained in the use of skewers and duck bombs.
My detective A.B.Fox undertook surveillance, on my behalf, of a so called 'lesson' and reported back.
"Hateman told them, Sir, that he would only reward them if their work was rubbish but showed appropriate revolutionary zeal. There then followed a question and answer session. Hateman would shout a phrase and they would respond" he stated.
"What was the subject?" I inquired.
"Well, actually, it was you, Sir" he replied. "Hateman shouted "Who stole a bicycle?" and they replied "Uncle!", next he shouted "Whose a big fat tyrant!" and they responded "Uncle!"
"Enough! - I get the picture, did they do any proper lessons?" I asked.
"They did do some mathematics. Hateman asked "If one bottle of Black Tom makes me merry, how many bottles would it take me to get totally plastered?". But I am afraid that all their answers fell well short of the correct answer, Sir.' answered A.B.Fox.
It is a disgrace! I fear for the education of our young people.