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Nigel Jackson has been appointed to the new post of early-years and childcare manager for the city of Portsmouth. He will bring together staff from different departments into a new unit managing early-years education and childcare. Mr Jackson, who will take up his post in August, is currently co-ordinating early years and childcare strategies for Havering,


Richard Sorabji has been appointed professor of rhetoric by

Gresham College. The 400-year-old college, supported by the Corporation of London and the Worshipful Company of Mercers, appoints eight distinguished figures as professors in the sciences, arts and commerce to give six free public lectures a year and to discuss contemporary issues at seminars and conferences.

Frank Close has been appointed Gresham professor of astronomy and Piers Hellawell Gresham professor of music. In addition, Baroness

Mary Warnock (above) is to be visiting professor in rhetoric and

Abdullah Ibrahim visiting professor in music.

Margaret Hanney has been appointed expert adviser to the pre-16 education committee of the Welsh Assembly for its study of provision for three-year olds. Mrs Hanney, who has worked in the early-years field for 25 years, established the Early Childhood Unit (Wales) and carried out some of the earliest research into services for under-fives in Wales.

The seven directors of the new Disability Rights Commission, which came into operation last month, are:

Liz Sayce, former director of a London health action zone and former policy director of Mind, as director of communcations and change;

Nick O'Brien, former deputy Ombudsman, as director of legal services; Jerry Wedge, former director of corporate services at the British Education and Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA), as director of resources; Paul Gemmill, former head of strategic planning and policy at the British Red Cross Society, as head of strategy and policy; Bob Benson, director of Disability Scotland, as director for Scotland; Caroline Gooding, consultant on disability equality issues, as special adviser; and Will Bee, manager of Single Regeneration Budget funds at the Bristol Regeneration Partnership, as director for Wales. Three of the seven directors are disabled.

Leading businessman Swraj Paul - the Lord Paul of Marylebone - has been officially installed as chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton. Born and raised in the Punjab, Lord Paul, who was educated at Punjab University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, came to England in 1966 and set up Caparo, a company that makes and supplies steel-based engineering products. It now employs 4,000 people in four countries and has an annual turnover of more than pound;500 million.

James Stewart is to become chief executive of Partnerships UK, the business that will take over and expand on the Treasury's role in promoting projects using private-sector finance in the public sector. Mr Stewart, 38, will take up the pound;200,000-a-year post shortly. He is currently head of project finance, Europe, at Newcourt Capital and before that held senior project finance positions in various banks.

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