LETTER:Girls: `terribly good for the boys'

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The Independent Online
From Ms Tracy Simmons

Sir: I too was the first female head of school at a predominantly boys' school that, until then, had always appointed a head boy with a deputy head girl (Another View; "A girl's place at Rugby", 15 June). Like Louise Woolcock, I was appointed in the year that girls were introduced throughout the school.

Surprisingly few boys seemed to make the connection, and accusations of my appointment being a PR exercise were extremely rare. More common were "wholesome" jests that I must be sleeping with the headmaster or that, as a girl who had only been at the school for three terms, I couldn't possibly appreciate the subtleties of the school traditions. Their main concern in this area was the system of fagging and they were right; I couldn't appreciate it.

I was completely mystified by approaches from girls as well as boys, who "reassured" me that they felt I was the most able person for the job but that ("nothing personal") it ought to be done by a boy.

This attitude was echoed by many of the governors, one of whom, during a polite exchange of niceties, assured me that he felt it was "a terribly good idea to have girls in the school: terribly good for the boys".

Yours,

TRACY SIMMONS

Lechlade,

Gloucestershire

15 June

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