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Simon Jenkin, the versatile former chief education officer of Devon will hold the fort in Bristol following the departure last week of director of education Richard Riddell. For health reasons, Mr Riddell is being seconded to carry out research at Cambridge University pending his early retirement next year. Mr Jenkin will work three days a week until a new director is found. He has previously been called in to help other local authorities such as Islington and Hull.

Azhar Mobin, inspector of local education authorities at the Audit Commission, is to join private consultants Cambridge Education Associates next month as head of its LEA division. Mr Mobin, 43, taught science in Essex and Haringey secondary schools before entering educational administration. After a stint as head of student services for Hertfordshire County Council, he was appointed to the Audit Commission in 1999. He has since inspected 15 LEAs and conducted a national study of special needs.

Derek Bell, vice-principal of Bishop Grosseteste College in Lincoln, is to be the next chief executive of the Association for Science Education. Dr Bell succeeds Dr David Moore, who has been with the association since 1988 and who will be retiring in July.

Chris Thatcher, until recently headteacher of Potters Green school in Coventry and a former president of the National Association of Head Teachers, has joined GOAL plc as director of educational development. GOAL (Global Online Assessment for Learning) aims to reduce teachers' workload by providing tests online that are marked electronically, with the results delivered within 24 hours over the Internet.

Biddy Passmore

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