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First published by: Serpent's Tail, 2007


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Plot outline: Habitual teenage delinquent Wayne Banstead is expelled from yet another school for sticking up the tuck shop only to find himself hauled off to Gafin School for Misdirected Boys: a ‘special school’ for ‘special children’.

It plays host to the worst of the worst, the cream of teenage offending – thieves, bullies and arsonists. The teachers should have their work cut out, but things aren’t quite as they seem at Gafin School. Far from rehabilitating the boys, the teachers seem intent on instructing them how to get away with their misdeeds. The pros, the cons and the downfalls are all set out like algebra equations. Even the school motto is ambiguous at best: Help Yourselves Boys.

With careful tutoring, Wayne Banstead and his classmates are about to take a step up into the big leagues. But they'd better learn fast because in the big leagues, the big boys play for keeps. With scores of dead arms, a playground's worth of F$£@ and a slam-bam robbery at its heart, this tale is definitely not for kids.

Influences: Naturally people are going to assume this is inspired by the Harry Potter books, but to be honest it wasn’t and most comparisons stop there. The idea came from a gag that appeared in The Burglar Diaries, where Bex was talking about how professional Gerry was in which he said:

“… basically, if there was a qualification in burglary, he could pass it no problem. Me, I’d probably just break into the classroom and steal the exam papers, which I imagine would count as a pass as well.”

This gag always stuck in my mind and from this I fleshed it out into School For Scumbags.

Crossovers: The above gag from The Burglar Diaries asides, this is actually the only book I’ve written that doesn’t cross over with any of the others. Perhaps I’ll do something about that in the sequel.

Sequel: I had an idea for another School for Scumbags book but I never got around to writing it and I don't think I ever will now. Not unless doing so were to take a sizeable chunk out of my mortgage, which is unlikely.

Film Development: The film rights to this novel were acquired by Matt Sinn Productions, LLC (USA) in February 2018.

Foreign translations: Published in Italian by Newton & Compton, Spanish by Nabla Actividades Editoriales and Russian by AST.

Audio books: Published on CD as an unabridged title by Whole Story Audio Books. Click HERE for more information.

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