Quango reshuffle will oust Tories

30th May 1997 at 01:00
Geraldine Hackett looks at who's in and who's out of policy-making hotseats

Ministers will use the power of patronage over the next few months to remove political appointees from positions of influence on the key quangos that dominate education policy-making.

Notice has already been served on Sir Christopher Benson, chairman of Sun Alliance, a known Tory supporter, who is the part-time chairman of the Funding Agency for Schools and FAS board member Sir Stanley Kalms, founder of the Dixons chain and a director of the right-wing Centre for Policy Studies.

In the final months of the last administration, Labour would only agree to a six-month extension of their tenure on the FAS. The fate of the two businessmen is shared by two other prominent members of the FAS board - Edward Lister, Conservative leader of Wandsworth council, and Sir Robert Balchin, chairman of the Conservative party's South-east region. They will also depart in September.

It was always likely that the day of reckoning would dawn for a high proportion of board members because of the controversy that surrounded the original appointments. Most members were vetted to ensure they held acceptable views on the grant-maintained initiative.

The political appointees are expected to leave the board before the FAS is wound up. The FAS, which employs more than 300 people, is likely to stay in existence until at least next spring to manage the transfer of grant-maintained schools to the local authority sector.

In other policy areas, ministers will be able to make their mark without formally removing any quango members. The latest Education Act provides for a new advisory body that will make recommendations on the curriculum, qualifications and testing to replace the existing School Curriculum and Assessment Authority and the National Council for Vocational Qualifications.

Advertisements for the posts of board members of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority have been appearing in the press and the Government is about to announce the appointment of Sir William Stubbs, director of the London Institute, as chairman. Dominic Cadbury, chair of Cadbury Schweppes and a member of the CBI's education and training committee, will be his deputy.

The creation of the super-quango is likely to spell an end to the political career of John Marks, secretary of the education study group of the Centre for Policy Studies, as an adviser to ministers. Since the early 1990s, when ministers started to pack advisory bodies with supporters, he has wielded considerable influence in policy forums.

Dr Marks is currently on the board of SCAA and was on the boards of its two predecessor bodies, the National Curriculum Council and School Examination and Assessment Council, but is unlikely to benefit from any further Government patronage.

Another survivor of that era, Professor Anthony O'Hear, the right-wing professor of philosophy at the University of Bradford, is unlikely to transfer from the SCAA board to the successor QCA and he has an uncertain future as a board member of the Teacher Training Agency.

In order of importance, the TTA ranks high on the quango list. It is in charge of teacher training and recruitment and the Government is currently looking for new members to join its board. As well as Professor O'Hear, the other political appointment on the current board is Baroness Cox, a close associate of Dr Marks.

The three-year term of its part-time chairman, Geoffrey Parker, former High Master of the independent Manchester Grammar School, comes to an end in September and the tenure of other board members is due to end in October.

In his few weeks in office Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett has been fulsome in his praise of the TTA and its chief executive Anthea Millett. Decisions remain to be made over the role of the TTA when the promised General Teaching Council comes into being, but Labour has abandoned its former opposition to the agency.

The posts falling vacant on quangos will be filled by ministerial appointees, but since the recommendations of the Nolan committee the process will be open to public scrutiny. The first signs of the new order are the advertisements that have been appearing in recent weeks. The commissioner for public appointments, Len Peach, monitors such appointments to ensure they are made on the basis of merit.

The day of retribution has already arrived for the Grant Maintained Schools Foundation, a company funded by the previous government to promote its policy of encouraging schools to become grant-maintained and chaired by Sir Robert Balchin. Funding is to be withdrawn shortly and the residue of its Pounds 800,000 grant for this year diverted into paying for summer literacy camps.

The one great escapee is Sir Cyril Taylor, the man put in charge by the former education secretary Kenneth Baker of the ill-fated city technology colleges project, that was brought to an end after the creation of only 15 such institutions. The Government is to continue to provide funding to the Technology College Trust chaired by Sir Cyril.

Leader, page 18


School Curriculum and Assessment Authority Graham Mackenzie, OBE, chairman, also director general, Engineering Employers Federation Dr Nick Tate, chief executive Roy Blatchford, director, Reading Fundamental UK Judith Conway, deputy headteacher, Christ Church CE Primary School, Chorleywood, Herts Paul Dick, headmaster, Kennet School, Thatcham, Berkshire Heather du Quesnay, executive director of education, London Borough of Lambeth Dr Philip Evans, headmaster, Bedford School

Marilyn Frampton, head of South East Regional Office, FEFC Yvonne Hargreaves-Pizer, headteacher, Hague Primary School, Bethnal Green Sir Michael Heron, chairman of NCVQ Dr John Marks, director, Education Research Trust Professor Leonard Marsh, retired principal of Bishop Grosseteste College, Lincoln Professor Anthony O'Hear, professor of philosophy, University of Bradford Shahwar Sadeque, Director, Art of Intelligence Ltd Teacher Training Agency

Geoffrey Parker, chairman, appointed until September 1997, High Master of Manchester Grammar School Anthea Millett, chief executive Lady Caroline Cox, chancellor, Bournemouth University Terry Creissen, principal, Colne Community School, Essex Dr Dorian Edynbry, principal, St Martin's College, Lancaster Jonathan Hewitt, county inspectoradviser (Primary), Lancashire LEA Dr Peter Knight, vice chancellor, University of Central England Ann Markham, until December 1996, Dean of Education, Sport and Leisure, Brighton University Prof Anthony O'Hear, professor of philosophy, University of Bradford (also a member of SCAA) Janet Trotter, director, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education. (also a member of the Higher Education Funding Council for England) Dee Williams, headteacher, Norman Gate School (MLD Primary), Hampshire Funding Agency for Schools Sir Christopher Benson, chairman, also chairman of Sun Alliance, appointed until September 30, 1997 Michael Collier, chief executive

Sir Robert Balchin, also chairman of the Grant Maintained Schools Foundation, appointed until September 30, 1997 Rodney East, banker and businessman, appointed until September 30, 1998 Canon Gerald Greenwood, recently retired diocesan director of education for Southwark, appointed until September 30, 1997 Dr Arthur Hearnden, director of the Independent Schools Joint Commission, appointed until March 31, 1998 Sir Stanley Kalms, Chairman of Dixon Group, appointed until September 30, 1997 Lee Karu, barrister, appointed until September 30, 1997 Lesley King, headteacher, St Joseph's RC (GM) Primary School, Aldershot, Hampshire, appointed until March 31, 1999 Cynthia Lake, JP and secretary of the National Governors Association, appointed until March 31, 1999 Edward Lister, Wandsworth Council leader, appointed until September 30, 1997 Prof David Newton, formerly vice principal and dean of the Business School at Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. Currently management consultant, appointed until March 31, l998 Brother Francis Patterson, headteacher of St Francis Xavier College, Liverpool, appointed until March 31, 1998 Professor Arthur Pollard, retired professor of English at University of Hull, member of local authority education committee, appointed until March 31, 1998

Muriel Ryding, headteacher, The Baines School, Poulton-le-Fylde, Blackpool, appointed until September 30, 1997 Linda Wedgbury, accountant, appointed until September 30, 1998

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