Education watchers expect the institute to choose an academic who gets on better with New Labour. A left-winger, Professor Mortimore has managed to irritate the inner circle with his outspoken criticisms of Labour's style. <> Internal candidates are likely to include Geoff Whitty, dean of research and brother of transport minister, Lord Whitty; and Ron Barnett, dean of professional studies. The job may also lure back Caroline Gipps, who re-cently left to become Kingston University's deputy vice-chancellor.
It remains to be seen whether headhunters from Saxton Bampfylde Hever earned their fee by drawing in applicants who had failed to see the advertisement. Among the wilder rumours is that Michael Barber, the Government's key enforcer on the standards front, has thrown his hat into the ring.