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News | Published in TES Newspaper on 13 March, 2009

Harrogate Ladies' College has appointed Rhiannon Wilkinson as its new head. She joins the school from Haileybury in Hertfordshire, where she is senior mistress. In her new role, she will be head of the Harrogate Ladies' College group, which includes Highfield Prep and Bankfield Pre School. Previously, Mrs Wilkinson spent four years as deputy principal at Jerudong International School in Brunei and also taught in Hong Kong for six years. She takes over from Geoffrey Hazell, interim head since September 2007.

Sir Bruce Liddington has become director-general of Edutrust as it prepares to establish eight new academies. The former schools commissioner for England has a remit to improve the prospects of pupils at the trust's academies. Previously head of Northampton School for Boys, he held senior posts on the academies team at the Department for Education before becoming commissioner.

Edutrust has also appointed Bev Bell as principal-designate of the academy set to replace John Kelly Girls' Technology College in Brent, in September. Mrs Bell, currently principal of John Kelly, has held senior posts in four London schools. John Kelly is one of eight Edutrust-sponsored academies set to open in 2009. The others will be in Richmond, Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield.

Jane Hanson has recently become vice-principal of Weston College in Weston-super-Mare after nine years as head of North Devon College's department of skills, care and education. Ms Hanson taught in a variety of settings, including primary, secondary and adult education, before going into further education.

Barry Fishwick is to be principal of the creative and media academies due to open in Manchester this September. The two single-sex colleges will be co-located in Charlestown, north Manchester, and are intended to become a national centre of excellence in creative and media education. Mr Fishwick began his career as a maths and science teacher. Under his leadership, Penketh High in Warrington gained specialist status for visual and media arts.

Sam Sweeney has been appointed head of Cedar Mount High School in Gorton, Manchester. After starting her career in personnel and retail management, she turned to teaching at 24. In 2001, Mrs Sweeney joined Lostock College in Stretford, Manchester, where she rose to deputy head. She will take up her new post in June.

David Stewart is to become head of Oak Field School in Nottingham, due to open in November but still under construction. It will replace Shepherd School in Bilborough and Aspley Wood School in Aspley and provide an education for pupils with profound learning and physical needs. Mr Stewart, who is currently head of Shepherd School, began working with children with disabilities as a student volunteer in 1970.

Jim Knight

Congratulations to schools minister Jim Knight on his 44th birthday. Not that he needs them from us - more than 60 politicians, Labour supporters and others posted greetings to the techno-savvy minister via Facebook, where his profile picture is the toy-obsessive character from 'Toy Story 2'. But Jim seems more interested in Twitter, even using it to interact with teachers at this year's Naace ICT conference. How else would they know he "has just finished his homework" and "is wondering for how much longer we'll have to listen to Michael Gove".

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