The old naked chin network;Diary

15th October 1999 at 01:00
MORTAR boards off to Nick Tate who, despite only distant classroom experience and a career spent overseeing an examination system consistently derided by our posher schools, has landed a job with the poshest of the lot.

His ascension as head of Winchester College provides a possible clue to one of the biggest mysteries of the summer - a very quiet summer, admittedly - namely: where did that beard go?

Nick returned from his hols in France to shock his colleagues at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority with the sight of his naked chin, hidden from public gaze for some 25 years. What's more, he was suspiciously reluctant to talk about it.

Now we can guess why. The Headmasters' Conference, the ranks of which Nick will shortly join, is a famously clean-shaven bunch. Just about the only facial hair to be seen at last week's conference belonged to Independent Schools Information Service press officer Dick Davison.

"You're absolutely right," says Dick. "I can only think of two beards at the moment ... and one of those belongs to the head of a vegetarian school in Letchworth. I would say they're more common among prep school heads than heads of senior schools - but that's not a scientific piece of ISIS research."

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