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Vested egos ahead

"Vested egos" may need to be overcome in the Assembly government's new and expanded education department, according to its recently appointed boss.

Australian Steve Marshall, a former primary school teacher, says he has had 700 pieces of advice about how to create a new culture for the education, lifelong learning and skills department - which comes into effect on April 1.

The department is merging with several agencies, as part of First Minister Rhodri Morgan's "bonfire of the quangoes".

Those being absorbed include ELWa, the post-16 education funding agency, ACCAC, the Welsh qualifications, curriculum and assessment authority, the Wales Youth Agency, and Dysg, the Wales Learning and Skills Development Agency.

At Dysg's annual conference in Cardiff last week, Mr Marshall warned against a climate "where people spend most of the time filling in forms and charts".

"I want to free up bureaucracy," he said.

But he also struck a conciliatory note: "People need to be treated fairly - I understand that."

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