English vacancy, but only if you eat loads of chocolate

21st November 2003 at 00:00
English teacher wanted. Qualifications: must like chocolate. Lots of it.

Served in copious amounts. And, oh yes, should be able to teach a bit as well.

Marshalls Park comprehensive, in Romford, Essex, is looking for a head of English and literacy. But an awareness of the finer points of literary theory is not among the key qualities candidates should demonstrate.

"Chocolate lover wanted," the advert in The TES states in bold lettering.

"We can promise friendship, loyalty and lots of chocolate."

Basic degrees of literacy will be required if the successful applicant is to fit in with the rest of the department: "We can tell the difference between a rhyming couplet and a writing triplet, and we can all quote at least one soliloquy from Macbeth.

"We're not saying we are good-looking, and we draw the line at dynamic, but we do take showers on an almost daily basis."

Jan Stark, one of five teachers the appointed candidate will manage, drew up the advert after a departmental moaning session over the lack of suitable responses to more conventional postings.

"As an English department, we thought we ought to be able to come up with something with a bit more oomph," she said.

"I did it for a laugh but it does stand out."

The decision to print the advert was taken by Pam Mason, English teacher and deputy head. And she is unconcerned by the lack of emphasis on less sugar-sweet elements of the job.

She said: "You've got to attract people's attention. Anyone who sees the advert will know that teaching and literacy are the key issues. And they will also get a feel for the department."

She is careful to point out that the advert is entirely truthful, there are no embellishments or exaggerations. Asked to perform an on-the-spot recitation from Macbeth, she summons Ms Stark.

So far, the advert has had the desired effect. There have been a number of enquiries since it first appeared last week, including two from people who were not teachers, but had found it amusing.

The National Association for the Teaching of English also expressed its approval. Trevor Millum, communications director, said: "English teachers will probably respond positively to something a bit different and creative.

This is just an English department practising what it preaches."

Marshalls Park: 01708 724134

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