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Heads in search of a collective

English has given us an unkindness of ravens and a murder of crows: what might the collective noun be for headteachers? Lurk in the bars of Birmingham this weekend, during the Association of School and College Leaders' annual conference, and suitable phrases may come to mind.

Talk will not be about becoming a trust school, or other matters close to politicians' hearts. The zeitgeist is school leaders' work-life balance and whether the job is becoming too big to be manageable (see Leadership, 27).

If: "Survived last term then?" is the conference's rallying call (and after last autumn's triple-whammy of huge initiatives dumped on schools, it will be) then the Government needs to listen seriously to the heads'

associations, which are warning of the increasing impossibility of the job and the effect on recruitment.

Otherwise the collective noun for headteachers will be: an absence.

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