Diary - Tough start

4th December 2009 at 00:00

The path to headship is rarely without a few bumps along the way, but compared to Mary Stuart's journey to becoming a university vice-chancellor, it may seem smoothness itself.

Professor Stuart was unemployed and homeless in the 1980s; now she is responsible for overseeing a multi-million pound budget at the University of Lincoln. In a remarkable turnaround, she managed to secure a job as a drama teacher, get herself off the streets and into a council house and study for an Open University degree. At least students will be safe in the knowledge that someone can empathise when the rooms turn out to be less than luxurious.

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