Jilly Cooper

9th February 2007 at 00:00
Jilly Cooper will always have a special place in The TES heart, ever since she rang us for advice while writing her school-based book Wicked!

Now, nearly a year after it was published, we feared the bonkbuster author might have abandoned the education world. So it is joyful to learn that Ms Cooper will speak at the Association of School and College Leaders conference next month. She joins a stellar line-up of Alan Johnson, education secretary, Christine Gilbert, chief schools inspector, and Lord (Seb) Coe.

Ms Cooper has praised heads for their help with Wicked! She even identified Martin Stephen, head of St Paul's school, London, as inspiration for the "good and honourable bits" of her leading man, Hengist Brett-Taylor, the dreamboat headmaster of posh private school Bagley Hall.

But a certain type of head may wish to avoid the conference. In a Financial Times interview, Ms Cooper said: "There's a breed of really butch heads with Tim Henman hair, dinner-lady arms, built like semis in Croydon, and very bossy and self-important. That's the type I'm allergic to. I can't bear them."

We also hope her descriptions of passionate trysts between married headteachers ("removing his loafers, kissing his bare feet, swiftly unbuttoning his shirt, kissing the dark brown tuft of chest hair, she licked his nipples...") do not lead ASCL members to high jinks.

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