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Have you noticed?;Briefing;Govenors

At the National Governors' Council conference last November, assorted governors were offered buy-one-get-one free package of Baroness Blackstone and David Normington.

Heard of him? Not exactly a big name, but a very grand title - director general of schools at the Department for Education and Employment.

He seemed a pleasant enough young man; and it is reassuring for we governors, often denigrated as untrained amateurs, to see that the lack of any professional experience of education need be no bar to the highest office. In post since April, Mr Normington has now seen several schools and he thinks they are definitely a good thing.

Tessa Blackstone spoke eloquently about lifelong learning and this is clearly important for civil servants: but if I hear the phrase "steep learning curve" once more I may turn nasty. In this context it seems to mean "I was totally ignorant of education issues but I have now mastered the jargon and am prepared to believe that any thing Tony Blair or David Blunkett says must be true." Still, he told us what a grand job we were doing and promised us more money. And it was sweet of him to give up most of a Saturday morning.

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