Prep heads bask in lovely Lisbon sun

22nd September 2006 at 01:00
The Diary, sadly, isn't going, but lots of prep school heads are, tossing their tweed jackets merrily over their shoulders as they fly off to their annual conference, which starts in the Portuguese capital on Monday. "It's a very good turnout," confirms Steven King, departing press chief of the Independent Schools Council," although it's not compulsory, unlike the HMC." He points out that Lisbon may be tempting, but it's not extravagant: his return flight cost only pound;60.

The heads should be well entertained, and not just by Lisbon's fine restaurants and night-clubs. TES columnist Libby Purves gives the keynote speech and the after-dinner speaker at the Convento do Beato is, appropriately, a Roman Catholic priest: Dom Antony Sutch, former head of Downside school and now a parish priest and regular on BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day. Dom Antony, who describes himself as "fat, 50 and sometimes furious", combines deep spirituality with worldly wit, and loves cricket, horse-racing, and a good cigar.

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