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Military types won't fancy this fine mess ..

May I be so bold as to put a slightly different (and equally tongue-in-cheek) perspective on Mike Kent's most amusing piece ("Fall in and learn ... At the double!", December 10)?

As a retired warrant officer (class 1) artificer sergeant major with nearly 25 years' service and eight years' experience of working in state education, I appreciate that in some staffrooms the idea of us ex-military types entering education will be viewed with amusement and scepticism.

However, discipline is not generally enforced by overbearing, moustachioed, shaven-headed screamers, but instilled deep within during training - and once learned, never forgotten.

The essence of loyalty, integrity, respect for others, selfless commitment, teamwork and a sense of pride in ourselves and our corps or regiment are among the other intrinsic patches on the tapestry that is Her Majesty's armed forces.

It is these qualities that I and others of my ilk hope to bring to our second careers, where we can enthuse and inspire young people.

I suspect these are the same qualities this new administration wishes to see permeate the Woodbine-smoking, leather elbow-bepatched, whisky-breathed, Grauniad-reading beardies that currently reside in education (and that's just the ladies).

We view the chaotic and disorderly world in which we now reside with some amusement, particularly when we hear our new colleagues bemoaning having to teach for a "whole 23 hours a week" for 39 weeks a year, and who then spend the rest of their abbreviated working time in pre- or post-lesson admin with no interference from the "enemy" (or Year 9 as I understand it is known).

I actually think that despite the excellent rates of pay and long holidays, few ex-service folk will view education as a viable option. Blessed as it is with more government interference and red tape than we enjoyed previously, it seems to take forever to get anything done and, worst of all, no one has tea and toast in the mess at break, which is never at 10am when it ought to be (although that is probably something to do with the late start).

Nigel Canning, Pastoral support, Coventry Blue Coat School.

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