24th November 2006 at 00:00
It must be a novel experience for the Education Secretary to find himself surrounded by fossils. So perhaps it was this that put Alan Johnson in a historical frame of mind at the TES's relaunch party in London's Natural History Museum.

The Secretary of State paid tribute to the influence of this paper on education policy for almost 100 years, while also paying generous tribute to his own party for hiring lots of teachers.

Reflecting on the TES's origins, he joked this period also marked the beginning of Sir Cyril Taylor (right) as an education advisor. The head of the Specialist Schools Trust is in fact a sprightly 71.

Although he quit school at 15, Mr Johnson wants everyone else to stay in education until the age of 18. But it seems he would also point out that you can leave before you collect your bus pass.

At such a celebration of new beginnings, the thoughts of many others at the party must have been turning to the future. That seems to be the case for Conor Ryan, Tony Blair's education advisor, according to friends.

With the Prime Minister expected to step down soon, it is time for him to scour the job pages. Other Blairite advisors have done well, such as Lord Adonis and Sir Michael Barber, now a partner with management consultants McKinsey. Mr Ryan is not expected to suffer the fate of Peter Hyman, who became a classroom assistant.

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