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Former England head to lead effectiveness group

A former head from England has been appointed to raise teaching standards and academic performance in Wales's schools.

Chris Tweedale, who spent eight years at the helm at "one of England's most improved schools", starts as director of the Assembly government's children, young people and school effectiveness group this month on a six-figure salary.

Many believe he will bring much-needed "frontline" teaching experience to Wales's department for children, education, lifelong learning and skills (Dcells).

Mr Tweedale was appointed in December, seven months after his predecessor Elizabeth Taylor retired. He is the second export from England to take on a high-ranking education post in Wales within a year.

Last summer, Professor David Hawker joined the department as its director and was said to bring a "wealth of experience and knowledge" invaluable to Wales.

But recent appointments from England have raised concern about a lack of talent in the department.

Mr Tweedale, former head of John Masefield High in Ledbury, Herefordshire, was a teacher for 25 years. The secondary now has specialist school status for the performing arts. Last year, 72 per cent of students achieved five good GCSEs and A-level candidates averaged 325 Ucas points, or grades ABB.

As a civil servant in England's education department, he helped to set up the 14-19 diplomas. He was also instrumental in raising the school leaving age to 18, a move so far rejected in Wales.

John Dunford, general secretary of the heads' union ASCL, said: "He brings a much greater degree of frontline school experience to Dcells and this can only help. I think it's fair to say that was missing."

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