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Prince of darkness;Jotter

The ultimate accolade has been handed to John MacBeath, boss of the Quality in Education centre. He has been described as one of the trio of academics who are failing our schools, and the accuser is no less than Chris Woodhead, teachers' pet hate south of the border.

The others at the "real heart of darkness", according to the chief inspector of OFSTED, are Robin Alexander, of Warwick University, and Ted Wragg, of Exeter University and a regular writer in The TES.

Together they have contributed to the "orthodoxies which have dominated classroom life in too many schools for 40 years".

Ideas held by MacBeath, the only Scottish member of the school standards task force, "send shivers" down Woodhead's spine. They include "intellectual subversion" so pupils ask teachers: "Why are you teaching me this today?"

When MacBeath addressed a meeting in Huddersfield last week and was introduced as Woodhead's spine-shiverer, the audience burst into spontaneous applause.

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