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New Labour insider Barber is appointed as DFEE standards chief

Michael Barber has been formally appointed as head of the Department for Education and Employment's standards and effectiveness unit - a move that means the former political adviser to New Labour will now be a member of the civil service.

Mr Barber has headed up the unit since 1997, but was formally on secondment from London University's Institute of Education. The FEE said Mr Barber had secured his own job and salary of pound;90,000-pound;100,000 after an open competition overseen by the Civil Service Commission. He loses his professorship as part of the move.

His main role will be to take charge of the Government's school improvement programmes, including the literacy and numeracy drive and the Excellence in Cities scheme.

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