Steve Munby is a smooth operator these days

Steve Munby is a smooth operator these days. As chief executive of the National College of School Leadership, he mingles happily with prime ministers and education's great and good. But former pupils remember a rather different Mr Munby from his teaching days.

He confessed to heads that he had done a little internet searching recently and discovered memories of him on the social networking site Friends Reunited.

For the record: Mr Munby wears designer stubble and drives a black BMW. One former pupil from Fairfax School in Sutton Coldfield asked: "Does anyone remember Mr Munby? He wore a beard and drove a yellow Cortina. He was a nice man, but he couldn't control us. It's a wonder we learned anything."

Last week, an unabashed Mr Munby cited his failures as evidence that successful school leaders need not have been successful teachers. Indeed, he compared himself to Arsene Wenger and Jose "the Chosen One" Mourinho: neither had distinguished themselves as footballers but both had become good football managers.

Contrast them, he said, with great players such as Paul Gascoigne and Diego Maradona, who went on to unimpressive management careers.

"I believe I have good leadership skills but I didn't have a successful first couple of years in teaching," Mr Munby said. "I used to struggle to prevent students from climbing out the window in my lessons. I got better, but I was never a star performer."

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