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School tie a subject of desire

For decades, tweed and leather was the last word in classroom chic. But a new range of natty neckwear shows teachers can move with the sartorial times.

The Ties for Teachers range is designed to advertise a teacher's specialism. For the history teacher there is a silk version of the Bayeux Tapestry. Maths staff can choose a protractor and compasses motif, while PE teachers can sport tiny rugby players.

Martin Yeldham, a Lincolnshire PE teacher and joint founder of the Ties for Teachers firm, said: "Teachers are looked upon as staid. Anything that makes them more interesting grabs children's imagination. It proves they're human."

Jason Pocklington, Mr Yeldham's business partner and a maths teacher at St Bede's Catholic Science college in Boston, Lincolnshire, says sales rise at the end of term. "As a leaving present, it makes a change from the usual bottle of wine or pen," he said. "Sales also rise at the end of the teacher-training year, when new teachers want to wear them to interviews.

It conveys enthusiasm. Kids realise you must like your subject."

Tim Stebbings, expressive arts teacher at William Lovell school, in Lincolnshire, owns ties depicting both Shakespeare and Einstein. "It's a cross-curricular world," he explained.

Ties for Teachers is now planning scarves for female teachers, as well as lapel-pins and badges.

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