The Diary is pleased that Eton's brightest boys are to face the firm smack of female discipline. The prestigious post of "Master-in-College" - that is, head of the scholars' house - has been awarded to a woman, Jane Grant, who is currently head of history. Being a female master will come as no shock to her - all of the female teachers at the school are known as masters, although the boys address them as "Ma'am" rather than "Sir." Even Baroness (Tessa) Blackstone, feminist former Labour education minister, settled for the appellation "Master" when she was head of Birkbeck college, London.
But would a man settle for being known as "Mistress"? That is the title of the head of Girton college, Cambridge, but no male incumbent has yet had to bear it. There has been a male vice-mistress, though. Name? Dr Trevor Rayment.