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Former NUT activist is new education chief at Gove thinktank

Labour Teachers founder John Blake succeeds Jonathan Simons

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Labour Teachers founder John Blake succeeds Jonathan Simons

A comprehensive school teacher who founded the grassroots network Labour Teachers has been unveiled as the new head of education at the centre-right thinktank, Policy Exchange.

John Blake, a former NUT activist, will take over from Jonathan Simons at the organisation, which was co-founded by Michael Gove in 2002.

Mr Blake, a "history consultant and leading practitioner" at the Harris Federation, will be joined by two other teachers in the Policy Exchange education team.

Mark Lehain, principal of Bedford Free School, and Tom Richmond, a sixth-form teacher and former government adviser, will join as senior policy fellows.

Policy Exchange’s state and society research fellow, Rebecca Lowe Coulson, will also be a member of the education team.

Their early priorities will include “exploring the role of an effective, knowledge-rich curriculum and well-constructed assessment in improving pupils’ education and reducing teacher workload”.

In a statement, Policy Exchange said: “Underpinning the unit’s work is a conviction that whilst much has been done to deliver a world-class education system, too many children, especially outside London, do not yet have access to the best, and the way forward will require a grasp of the ‘lived reality’ of our schools, which the unit is well-served to provide.”

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