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Directors named for basic skills

Anita Straker, deputy education director for Camden, and John Stannard, an English specialist at the Office for Standards in Education, have been appointed national directors of the Government's 25 numeracy and literacy centres.

Ms Straker, a member of the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority's consultative group for mathematics and science, will run the 12 numeracy centres. Mr Stannard, who has been a schools' inspector since 1987, will head the network of 13 literacy centres.

The local authority-based centres are part of a Pounds 25 million project, spread over five years, to improve primary pupils' standards in reading, writing and numeracy.

Schools minister Robin Squire said: "They will be building on what is known from inspection and research about what works in the classroom - and making sure that every local centre has a common agenda so that those lessons are applied in every school."

Anita Straker, the mother of four sons, taught in primary and secondary schools in London and Surrey. She is a registered inspector and has been accredited by OFSTED to train inspectors. Her keen interest in numeracy led her to write a variety of primary mathematics software and numerous books for teachers and pupils. In 1990 she was awarded the OBE for services to education.

John Stannard began his career as a primary teacher and moved into teacher training as a senior lecturer in primary studies at the Froebel Institute specialising in early-years education, and language and literacy. As an HMI, he has been responsible for a range of national reading surveys identifying key factors which influence standards and teaching quality.

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