Tales of her children's adventures at posh public schools did not exactly strike a chord with state school heads, particularly an anecdote in which her son said, "Mummy, I'm doing worse in scripture than the Arabs." A blue joke about budgies also left some heads spluttering into their coffee.
But Ms Cooper won Brownie points with her flattering definition of the ASCL, "an Absolutely Super Collection of Leaders".
Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, was also in a flattering mood at the conference. Alluding to his looming battle for the job held by John Prescott, he confessed he would feel a special affinity with those teachers working as number twos. "If you see me gravitating towards the deputy leaders amongst you, perhaps you will understand," he said.
Referring to the in-fighting over Tony Blair's successor, he said he was delighted to address a conference of people interested in leadership - "in sharp contrast to Downing Street".