Not only does the 24-year-old accountant command a salary comparable with the secondary deputy, but I am sure that a very acceptable early retirement package will also be on offer in 30 years' time.
I am an ambitious head of science in my early thirties with aspirations to headship in the future. I love teaching kids and I thrive on the challenge of managing a large faculty in a secondary school. I believe I am the kind of person the Government wants to attract into teaching. But I also believe it is healthy to retire at 55 having given of your best, and this sort of nonsense makes me want to look for another job with a more humane employer than the Department for Education and Employment.
Or, as one "elderly" member of my faculty put it to me: "I never expected a golden handshake, but I didn't think they would start taking prisoners. "
SIMON THOMPSON Head of science The Nobel School Mobbsbury Way Stevenage