Alice Dryden: Spelling matters, as any fule kno

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The Independent Online

All is quiet in big skool comon room as we digest our jamie oliver-aproved dinner. I am reklining while a junior tick do my eng. prep for me or coarsework as we now call it in my case it is often very COARSE indeed ha ha. Basil fotherington-tomas is reding the newspaper he is a wet.

"Did you kno that from next year, good writing will count for up to 12 per cent of the gcse english grade?" he ask. "wotever" I repli (all the new bugs sa this i kno not why). "Do this notion not fill you with DREAD, olesworth?" enquire fotherington-tomas gently. "Not at all. It is quite rite that the youth of toda should write the queen's english propperly. How else are we to make the empire grate eh?"

fotherington-tomas look thortful, as well he mite. Personaly i hav nothing to fear, for when the english master's eye fall upon my composisions he shuder as if posesssed by spirit of xtacy.

"it is just nigel that your speling is somewot CREATIV. While I admire your daring refusal to conform I am conserned that it ma count against your brite future among the litterati."

"Wouldst thou pitty me, fotherington-tomas, wouldst thou O thou clot?" I demand, buzzing my copy of hamlet at his conk. "At least i spel better than shaksper."

With acknowledgments to Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle