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Cherchez la femme

Jilly Cooper's days as queen of the bonkbuster may be numbered. Consider the following:

"With black hair touched by wisps of grey throughout, in lightly starched cotton pants of caramel and blouse of blazon white, Marla jumped from her white double-cab Chevy pick-up truck seemingly surrounded by an aura of kinetic energy I could almost hear as well as see.

"Her multiple gold bracelets jangled and were overcome in brilliance only by the precious gems that rested on her fingers. This was the principal of Elm Grove School."

Not the product of a Mills and Boon writers' convention but a paper presented at the annual meeting last month of the American Educational Research Association. You have to make an effort to get past the title on these occasions since this paper was headed Women who lead high schools: a missing presence in leadership theory.

Try as we might, we looked in vain for such masterpieces of prose at the forum run last Friday by the Scottish Council for Research in Education.

Come on SCRE, let's spice things up.

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