Colonel blip

26th May 2000 at 01:00
IT'S official. A headteacher is as important as a colonel - at least, when working in a forces school abroad. No more slumming it as a lowly major for our boys and girls, although even that rank entitled them to G and T in the officers' mess.

A forces-wide review - military types like to know who to salute and who to ignore - decreed heads were two ranks below their rightful perch in the pecking order. The resulting promotion entitles them to a detached house, should one be available. And that's it.

It's easy to mock a culture in which dogs have been honoary sergeants, but it does give heads a level of recognition and respect which Civvy Street colleagues must envy.

Next week's National Association of Head Teachers' conference will highlight complaints of unfair and inadequate funding, with Welsh primaries feeling particularly hard done by. If a national funding formula isn't seriously discussed this summer, the wartime words of Lord Mountbatten to the troops will spring to heads' minds. "You're not the forgotten army on the forgotten front. No, make no mistake about it. Nobody's ever heard of you."

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