Ghostly tale of a chief and spectre

10th August 2001 at 01:00
ARE you sitting comfortably? No? Good. We want to tell you a little ghost story.

It all started a few weeks ago when Kent County Council began looking for a new education director. When it set an alluring salary of pound;130,000 per annum there was much excited chatter about which luminary would be making "his" way to the county (the Tory leader of the council seemed convinced it would be a "guy"). Cabinet ministers might even be tempted by the pound;10,000 pay rise, locals enthused (although some worried if anyone could really be worth that much).

And that is when people started to wonder who exactly the Conservative leadership might think would be worth it. Then sightings began: a strange wraith-like form, a forgotten great power in the land. You may have heard of him: Christopher Anthony Woodhead. Martin Frey, of Kent's anti-grammar Stop the Eleven Plus Campaign, said: "I heard it from at least eight different sources. The rumours spread like wildfire. He was returning from the dead."

Like all good ghost stories, Tory council leader Sandy Bruce-Lockhart assures the diary this is all bunkum (apparently Mr Woodhead's mum lives in the area and there is "no question of him applying for the job"). But he intimates the powers of The Man Who Once Inspected Schools for the Queen might not be completely spent. "He did give us a list of names that we might approach for the position."

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