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SHA mug is now a collector's item

Forget rare stamps and cigarette cards, if you want to invest in soon-to-be rare memorabilia, get a Secondary Heads Association mug.

The organisation this week changed its name to the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). Although the transition went smoothly, it has left the association with cupboards full of SHA-emblazoned products.

However, John Dunford, ASCL general secretary, believes it could profit by selling them on the internet. "We put all the SHA headed paper and business cards straight in the recycling bin", he said. "But we're going to keep some of the satchels and conference badges, then we're going to sell them later on eBay."

The name-change was made to reflect the increasing number of deputies, assistant heads, bursars and sixth form college leaders in the organisation. Only a third of ASCL's 12,500 members are headteachers.

However, the new name has attracted grumbling from a few members of rival head and college associations who fear it suggests the secondary school organisation is trying to muscle in on their territory.

Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "It does make you wonder why they've done it. But I have faith in their integrity, so I'm not worried."

The NAHT plans to place greater emphasis in 2006 on its slogan - "the association for all school leaders".

Members of ASCL must take care when searching for information about their association on the web: www.ascl.co.uk is the site of the Asset Sales Company Limited in York, while www.ascl.org leads to the website for a French junior table tennis team. It also risks confusion with the American Sugar Cane League and the Asian School of Cyber Laws.

But, on the bright side, it is no longer in danger of being mixed up with the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology or the Saskatchewan Hemp Association.

www.ascl.org.uk

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