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Hello... and goodbye

THIS year, we said hello to ...

CHARLES CLARKE, aka "Bruiser" and "Big Ears", who moved from the Labour party chairmanship to the Department for Education and Skills on Estelle Morris's departure in October, and stepped straight (and sure-footedly) into rows over A-levels and top-up fees.

DAVID MILIBAND, aka "Year 8 in a suit", made education minister in May. Charmed headteachers in his debut speech, recalling his own years in primary and comprehensive schools. Impressed everyone with his brains and energy, but perhaps overwhelmed Estelle Morris.

KEN BOSTON, chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, who has gained ground since a disastrous first outing during the A-level row, when he suggested the problem was teachers who had not grasped the standard of the new exam.

DAVID BELL, chief inspector of schools, who has made a good, punchy start. Manages to convey bad news and criticism, for instance, of phonics teaching and primary leadership, without being disliked, and has won respect within the Office for Standards in Education for his internal reorganisation.

MIKE TOMLINSON, his predecessor, who left Ofsted to chair the body aiming to reform education in Hackney, east London, to head Science Year 2000 and now the A-level inquiry. Has shown calm good sense amid hysteria and refused to become involved in criticising personalities.

... and said goodbye to ...

ESTELLE MORRIS, who amazed everyone by her honest assessment of her own limitations, exited gracefully, was much mourned and has since kept quiet.

SIR WILLIAM STUBBS, who did the opposite when sacked as chairman of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. He made his position impossible by accusing Ms Morris of interfering with the Tomlinson inquiry.

NIGEL de GRUCHY, who said goodbye to the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers at its Easter conference. His golf handicap has gone down from 18 to 12 and the former general secretary, now president of the TUC, is writing a history of the union.

PETER SMITH, who stepped down as general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers after months of ill-health. He made a dramatic last appearance at the ATL's Easter conference, lurching across the platform to greet Estelle Morris with a heavily-bandaged head.

MIKE TOMLINSON, who in 18 months repaired much of the damage to teachers'

morale caused by Chris Woodhead and re-established Ofsted as a fair and necessary evil rather than a latterday Spanish Inquisition.

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