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Former BT boss proves a good listener

For a man once paid his pound;516,000 salary for a year after he had left his job, Bill Cockburn has not exactly been generous to teachers.

The new chair of the School Teachers' Review Body came in with a reputation as a radical on pay and conditions. His support for the Government's tough line on teachers' pay is just what one might expect from a man who has run some of the biggest companies in Britain.

But though this has led some unions to question his independence, he has made a favourable impression on others.

The former managing director of the Post Office, and BT is described being more "on the ball" and as having a more "hands-on" approach than his predecessor Tony Vineall, despite perhaps lacking Mr Vineall's detailed knowledge of pay and conditions.

"He came in with a reputation as being a bit of a bruiser when it came to personnel relations. But his first report is not as radical as might have been expected - which is a good thing," said David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Headteachers.

Heads also praise his willingness to listen and to ask tough questions which have not always been tackled by the review body in the past.

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