Beer talking as union debates new name

1st July 2005 at 01:00
What's in a name? Hopefully not very much if we are to take the views of our secondary school leaders seriously.

Asked to come up with possible new monikers for their union, the cream of the country's teaching talent put on its collective thinking cap and produced a selection that revealed a worrying obsession with beer and toilet cleaners.

The Heads and Relevant Persons in Colleges or Harpic was one suggestion the Secondary Heads Association received during its consultation on a name change.

Its beer-drinking members suggested the Secondary and Tertiary Education Leaders Association or Stela. Or the more straightforward "Association of Leaders in Education" or ALE.

Other suggestions from Wonderland included the Association of Leaders in Children's Education or Alice.

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, said:

"For the last few years we have been hearing from members that the name no longer accurately reflects our membership. Nearly two-thirds of members are deputy and assistant heads, and we have members in the college sector."

Changing the name has been on the agenda since 1984, when the union first admitted deputy headteachers.

Today, with assistant headteachers also eligible to join, heads make up less than a third of its members.

Earlier this year a consultation found that of the 43 per cent of members replying, 68 per cent backed a name change.

The council had considered the Schools and Colleges Leaders Association or SCoLA but someone else has already taken the website address.

Members are being asked to choose between retaining the name SHA or changing it to the Association of School and College Leaders or the School and College Leaders Association.

The decision will be made at an extraordinary general meeting in Sheffield on September 22.

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