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Professor Stephen Hawking has been presented with the Royal Society of Arts's premier award, the Albert Medal, by the Duke of Edinburgh, president of the society, for his achievements in making physics more accessible, understandable and exciting, and opening the subject to a wider audience through his books and television programmes. Past recipients include philosopher Baroness Warnock, and conductor Sir Simon Rattle. The medal was instituted in 1863 as a memorial to Prince Albert, president of the society from 1843 to 1861.

Tony Millns, former head of the communications division at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, has been appointed chief executive of the Association of Recognised English Language Services which runs an inspection and accreditation scheme for language schools with the British Council. Mr Millns is currently on secondment from the QCA, working with the Institute for Public Policy Research and Business in the Community.


Marland is retiring at the end of term as head of North Westminster community school in north-west London. He has been head of the school since it opened in 1979. Mr Marland is the author of several books and has contributed to The TES and other newspapers and journals for many years. He is planning a new book on managing the arts in the curriculum. His successor has not yet been appointed.

Liz Nicholson, assistant director of education at Lincolnshire County Council, will become Shropshire County Council's corporate director for education, in the New Year, replacing Carol Adams who is director designate of the new General Teaching Council. Ms Nicholson joined Lincolnshire in 1995 as one of three assistant directors with special responsibility for strategic planning after a post in Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council as head of business and finance.

Sir John Kingman, vice-chancellor of Bristol University for 16 years, has announced his resignation, giving two years notice to the academic board. During his time he was credited for steering the university through a severe financial crisis by securing a pound;70 million development fund.

Louise Soden has been appointed as manager of a new school improvement service for Ports-mouth, Hampshire. She was formerly an English teacher, then a school adviser for Brighton and Hove with responsibility for leadership and


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