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Tributes to former TES editor

Tributes have been pouring in to Caroline St John-Brooks, former editor of The TES, who died of cancer on Monday at the age of 56.

Friends and colleagues recalled a woman whose passion for education survived more than two decades in journalism and several bouts of ill-health, and who brought a more positive, human aspect to the paper.

They praised her intelligence, wit and warmth.

Bob Doe, TES editor, said: "Caroline was deeply loved and respected by all her friends and colleagues at the paper and beyond. Somehow, anyone who met her ended up feeling better about themselves. She managed to combine a relentless commitment to social justice and the sincerest care for individuals with a great sense of fun. She loved to party.

"As editor she supported Labour's drive to improve education for all but not its reliance on market forces. She relished policy debate. But she never forgot that in the end it is what teachers do in the classroom that makes the real difference to children's unequal chances in life. Her changes to the paper reflect this."

A long-standing Labour supporter, Dr St John-Brooks was delighted to take up the editor's chair on May 1, 1997, the same day as Tony Blair entered Downing Street. A strong advocate of comprehensives, to which she sent her own children, she became disillusioned with New Labour's emphasis on the market, although she supported its standards strategy.

She became TES editor at the summit of a distinguished career, first at New Society and then the Sunday Times, followed by a stint as assistant editor at The TES and three years in a research post with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

But her tenure was cut short in 2000 by a recurrence of cancer. She resigned, but continued to write a column for The TES for as long as her illness permitted.

Obituary and tributes 6

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