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We nearly caught a performance-management adviser, but had to throw him back. My head objected to the Cambridge Education Associates candidate because he was a man (well, nobody's perfect, after all) and she didn't like his name - which seemed perfectly good reasons to me.

Her third objection - and this was the clincher - was that we are a small rural primary and he was head of a large urban secondary.

We have come a long way from CEA's original rash promise that they would send us a list of candidates to choose from, untainted by any connection with our county, le alone our school.

We can reject the adviser, but fear we may now go to the back of the queue. This means an appointment in April, rather than December as promised.

But my head feels it is essential to the credibility of the performance-management process that her targets should be set before she sets them for the staff. We simply can't wait now until the spring.

Perhaps this was the point of the "role-play" session in the performance-management training for governors. One of us should pretend to be an adviser - and then send our invoice to the CEA.

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