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Moral mum

When the 130 headteachers at last month's "Leading the Learning School" conference in Stirling University were asked to write down their reasons for becoming a teacher, some came up with commendably idealistic motivations: "I like children"; "I always wanted to be a teacher"; "I had a positive role model in one of my own teachers."

Other reasons were hardly consistent with the "moral purpose" which the keynote speaker associated with effective school leaders.

"It seemed like a good idea at the time"; "It was a choice between college or work"; and, the father of them all: "My mother decided."

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