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Tsar in name only

If London has to have a tsar, then Professor Tim Brighouse is the obvious candidate. He will sweep through London schools leaving a trail of enthused teachers and bright ideas behind him. He may even persuade more members of the profession that the multilingual, multicultural capital is an exciting place to work.

But the man who transformed Birmingham's schools, has been offered a very different role in London. Though he is a fiercely independent original thinker, he has been appointed by a government whose watchword is control. He will not be the head of a London-wide authority with the staff and clout to push through reforms. "I have absolutely no power," he said this week as he tried to reassure local education authorities that he will not interfere. That, his many supporters may think, is precisely the problem.

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