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URSULA HOWARD, currently director of research at the Learning and Skills Development Agency, is to be the new director of the National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy.

Dr Howard, who is also director of the Learning and Skills Research Centre, became an adult literacy practitioner in 1974, working at a voluntary sector project in south London. She has since worked as a teacher, manager and researcher in further education and was vice-principal of Kensington and Chelsea FE College before joining the LSDA in 1995.

JUDY CURRY has succeeded David French as secretary of the Commonwealth Institute in addition to her responsibilities as finance director. Mr French becomes the chief executive of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, an agency funded by the Foreign Office. Former senior diplomat, Robert Alston takes over Mr French's role in representing the institute in its international relationships.

SHARON SHOESMITH, interim deputy director of education of the London borough of Haringey, has been appointed director of education, taking over from the interim director, Paul Roberts. They are currently employed by Capita Strategic Education Services who were contracted in 2001 to provide a team of managers to lead the service until permanent staff could be appointed.

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