4th July 2019 by

GLARE Story Writing Competition: The Exam (Category 9 to 12 years)

The winning story in the category 9 to 12 years is ‘The Exam’ by Harry Forty.  Our judge – Robin Stevens – said: “I loved the difference between how Harriet appeared to the rest of the world and what was really inside her – she’s a wonderful villain! And the twist at the end … brilliant.”


Outwardly, Harriet Harper- Hughes was the perfect girl. Immaculately dressed with straight teeth, clean fingers and blond hair in pigtails, Harriet shone like the brightest star in the sky. However, that was on the outside.

Inside, Harriet was far from what a perfect girl should be. In fact, she was a master villain of the highest degree. She had the mind of a cunning crook, an athlete’s agility, the reflexes of top goalkeeper and the confidence of a High Court Judge. To all intents and purposes she was invincible!

One morning, Harriet was loitering in the playground at breaktime. She had positioned herself by a window which looked onto the staffroom door. A teacher was just about to enter.

Mr Longdale, Harriet’s Maths teacher, punched out 5223 and the door opened Harriet memorised the number. The end of break bell rang and Harriet returned to the classroom. During English she put up her hand to ask if she could go to the toilet. Once in the corridor she headed to the staffroom. She checked the coast was clear and then pressed 5223 to open the door. Gingerly she stepped inside; the room was empty. Slowly she pulled some surveillance cameras out of her pockets and looked for a good place to hide them. She was sure that the teachers drank a lot of tea and coffee and so she placed the first camera on the top shelf of the fridge. The next was positioned on top of a cupboard. Finally (and the most important one of all) she place in a bag on the floor which she knew belonged to the Head Mistress, Miss Fear. This particular camera was in the disguise of a pen. When the teacher marked the work of her pupils at home, Harriet would be able to see if there was anything worth “borrowing” in her house. Her work was done and so Harriet returned to the classroom. The day stretched before her and she couldn’t wait for it to end so that she could watch the secret footage but the closer to hometime it got the further away it felt. Eventually the day was over and once home Harriet excused herself from the dinner table saying that she needed to revise for her important exam tomorrow. Upstairs she opened her laptop. With one eye on the screen and the other in a spy catalogue browsing the latest gizmos and gadgets for her next criminal masterplan, she was drawn to movement on the laptop. She turned giving it her full attention. Harriet viewed the room for things that were worth “borrowing”. Suddenly, her eye was drawn to a piece of paper. At the top of the page was written “Year 4 Exam Answers.”

“Result!” thought Harriet. “If I learn the answers I will get 100% in the exam with no revision and go down in school history.”

The next morning, she woke up and after dressing speedily left for school. Everyone lined up nervously outside the exam room. Harriet felt completely confident. The door opened and out stepped Miss Fear smiling (she never smiled!).

“Come in and find your seat,” she said. Harriet sat down with a smug smile on her face.

“You may begin!” commanded Miss Fear.

Harriet safe in the knowledge that this was going to be easy, turned the page. She felt a cold shiver run down her spine. This was not the paper she had prepared for! She looked up and found herself looking straight at Miss Fear who winked at her and as she walked past whispered, “Crime never pays Harriet…”



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