Chalk Talk: Clint Eastwood - the perfect role model for our headteachers

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The Independent Online

Sir Michael Wilshaw, who is the Government's favourite teacher and the head of Mossbourne Academy in Hackney – where 10 pupils this year have been offered Oxbridge places – has revealed the name of his role model: Clint Eastwood.

"Take that scene in Pale Rider when the baddies are shooting up the town, the mists dissipate and Clint is there," he told a conference.

"Being a headteacher is all about being the lone warrior and fighting for righteousness – fighting the good fight." He also dismissed the idea of "distributed leadership" of a school involving a group of senior managers.

"I would never use it," he said. "I don't think Clint would either."

All good stuff, but one slightly fears what his remedy would be for those kids who misbehave, if he was left to his own devices.

Hang 'em high?

Meanwhile, there's no threat of a shoot-out between the unions and the Conservative-led Coalition Government. At a reception in the Commons to promote union learning centres, John Hayes, who is Minister for Further Education, was quite effusive in his praise for the TUC's unionlearn initiative. Hayes himself is a member of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

"Thank you for driving up skills," he said. "Thank you for backing business. Thank you for the great difference you make to people's lives through the great gift of learning."

The centres do a fine job in arranging training to fit in with people's work patterns and shifts.

However, Easter is only a few weeks away, so normal service between the two is likely to be resumed sooner rather than later.

Unions do not often call for the abolition of quangos.

However, some college lecturers' leaders could well start voicing their opposition to the Institute of Learning. Whilst its counterpart for teachers (the General Teaching Council for England) is facing the axe, the professional body for further education is very much alive and kicking... lecturers where it hurts.

So, while teachers will be released from paying a levy, lecturers who previously faced a voluntary charge of £36.50-a year for its services, will now face a compulsory £68 payment from April. As a result, the University and College Union – whose leadership admit they often have to work hard for militant action over pay – is now being besieged by angry members demanding that something should be done.