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Our Say.

HEAD teachers can be crucial figures, giving their schools a sense of purpose, inspiring staff and pupils to reach great heights, creating a disciplined but friendly climate in which youngsters can thrive.

So be concerned by the revelation that almost half of Birmingham's heads will retire in the next two years: it means many schools will have a new man or woman in charge very soon and, unless the right people are appointed, that could be disastrous.

That so many senior figures will reach the end of their careers at the same time is no-one's fault. It is a blip beyond the control of the city council's education department.

But what would be unforgivable would be for the council not to be prepared for the situation.

The best teachers must be identified, encouraged to seek promotion and thoroughly trained to take over the reins of power.

This retirement crisis creates enormous opportunities as well as dangers. Birmingham's education chiefs must work it to their advantage.

THE clergy, especially those in senior positions, are often regarded as remote figures with little grasp of how ordinary people live their lives.

But the Dean of Birmingham Cathedral, the Very Reverend Dean Robert Wilkes, shattered that notion when he went out for the night on Broad Street, meeting a lap dancer, visiting a casino, chatting to revellers and enjoying a glass of Champagne.

Here was an example of how religion is not simply about services and sermons, but about men and women of faith mixing with people from all backgrounds so they can better understand how the world works.

Faith should not create barriers but seek to break them down.
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Title Annotation:Leaders
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Apr 16, 2007
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