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No cosy chats, but there's nothing to fear

LIZ REID, former director in Edinburgh and now in Hackney, met Bill Clark when he was sent to the London authority as part of a DFEE hit squad.

She says that education authority inspections must have a rightful place as more and more accountability is placed on schools, headteachers and governing bodies. "It is undeniable that the experience in England has been instrumental in improvements to children's educational attainment."

David Bell, the director in Newcastle upon Tyne, has had a positive experience working with Mr Clark to draw up his authority's development plan. "It's quite nice occasionally to have an input from outside which is not just about inspection but involves advice and support as well," Mr Bell says.

"We were lucky to have someone of the calibre of Bill Clark in that role. He didn't come to us with any template that there is only one way to run an education authority, but he wasn't just popping in for a cosy chat either."

Mr Bell, who began his career teaching in the west of Scotland, added:

"Colleagues in Scotland should be reassured that someone with the background of Bill Clark, who is a real professional and has complete integrity, will be working alongside them."

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