Learning beyond the think-tank

31st March 2006 at 01:00
Feeling visionary? Call yourself a public intellectual? Demos has just the job for you. The influential, leftish think-tank is looking for a new director.

After seven years in the post Tom Bentley, (still only 32) is leaving in the summer. Unlike other think-tankers, he is moving neither to Number 10 nor to management consultancy - but to Australia. He plans to stay there for up to three years with his wife and two small daughters.

Why? "The decision," says Bentley, "has partly been shaped by family considerations (his wife is Australian), but also by the judgement that this is a good moment for Demos to renew its leadership and move on to a further stage of development." Hmmm. Is this former special adviser to the then education secretary David Blunkett and author of the 1998 book Learning Beyond the Classroom ("one of the key education books of the decade" - TES) feeling a mite disillusioned with New Labour? He refers pointedly to the crucial role Demos played in "the early and creative stages of the New Labour government", when it was closely involved in shaping schools. Admirers say his great achievement since those early, heady days has been to move beyond party affiliation to spreading practical, innovative ideas. "Everyday democracy" is the Demos watchword now and it prides itself on being a "do tank" as much as a "think-tank." If you think you can do it, the pay isn't bad: Pounds 70,000-80,000.

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