With one bound, Chris was free

22nd December 2000 at 00:00
Those who joined the former chief inspector in the departures lounge

NO departure this year was as high profile as that of Chris Woodhead who bowed out of the chief inspector's role to work for the Daily Telegraph and public relations firm Bell Pottinger.

Having survived his annus horribilis in 1999 when details of his relationship with a former pupil resurfaced, he showed no signs of keeping a lower profile in 2000 - or being less outspoken.

In January he denied that Section 28 had encouraged homophobic bullying in schools. In March he criticised the quality of media studies and other fashionable university degrees.

Later he accused teaching unions of using children as pawns and called for A-levels to be made more difficult.

On a personal note, Mr Woodhead and his partner of 10 years, Ruth Miskin, went their separate ways.

And she announced that she was quitting her Tower Hamlets primary school headship to become director of training in the UK of the American literacy scheme, Success For All.

Anthea Millett, with a CBE in her pocket, retired from her post as chief executive of the Teacher Training Agency.

Having lined up a three-month stint as an education adviser to the Cayman Islands, she resurfaced at the Department for Education as a consultant for its new performance management system.

Her successor, Ralph Tabberer from theDFEE, had a tough first year - taking the helm just as the recruitment crisis reached critical levels.

It was all change at the Government's curriculum quango with chief executive Nick Tate leaving the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority to become head of Winchester College. Professor David Hargreaves took his place.

Meanwhile, the new General Teaching Council for England finally got down to business this year, with Carol Adams its chief executive and Lord Puttnam its chairman.

Britain's most media-conscious teachers' leader, Nigel de Gruchy, announced that he is to leave his post as general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers after the Easter 2002 conference.

Vivian Anthony, secretary of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, bowed out after 10 years and was replaced by Geoff Lucas, former director of special projects at the QCA.

There were also some sad losses to the education world with the deaths of Lady Plowden and Caroline Benn.

Lady Plowden's 1967 report on primary education with its emphasis on child-centred, active learning brought about a revolution in English schools. She died aged 90 in October.

Caroline Benn was a relentless campaigner for the comprehensive school system - editing the journal Comprehensive Education for 25 years.

Ruth Miskin, Letters, 14

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