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A good year for...

* EDWARD GOULD, head of Marlborough College and chairman of the Head-masters' and Headmistresses' Conference which brought the A-level debacle to national attention and kept it there. He now has a seat on the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

* THE WELSH language, which got a pound;27 million three-year boost from the Welsh Assembly to pay for bilingual nurseries, Welsh-learning sabbaticals for teachers, and "golden hellos" for those training to teach it.

* SPECIALIST SCHOOLS, which remain minister's pets. All secondaries can now apply and there is a hardship fund for those who cannot raise the money. Extra-special specialists will become "advanced specialists", like beacons which are on their way out.

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