Figures released by education junior minister Ivan Lewis last week reveal that spending on the high-profile section of the Department for Education and Skills has more than quadrupled, from pound;2.4m in 1997-98.
Replying to a question from Theresa May, shadow education spokesperson, Mr Lewis said the unit was responsible for spearheading key parts of the Government's agenda for raising standards in schools. The unit currently has a staff of 275, including education advisers who have been brought in from outside the civil service. Its former director, Michael Barber, has transferred to the Cabinet Office. He has yet to be replaced.