The country's favourite education troubleshooter, Sir Ron Dearing, has been appointed to a furthertwo-year term as chairman of the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority.
Sir Ron was appointed as the first chairman when SCAA was set up in 1993 with a special responsibility to slim down an overloaded national curriculum. This he achieved with a new version of the curriculum, put into practice last year.
He has been influential since he was appointed chairman of the Polytechnic and Colleges Funding Council in 1988. Seen by everyone as politically impartial, Sir Ron was the figure called on to review the national curriculum tests after teachers boycotted them, complaining about the workload.
His conclusion that the tests should be simplified saw off further industrial action. He is currently putting the finishing touches to a review of 16-19 education, due to be published at the end of this month.
Last week, he was asked to investigate another politically troubled area - the funding of higher education. It is a measure both of the respect in which Sir Ron is held and the dangers posed by the subject matter that the HE inquiry was agreed to in advance by the Labour party.