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Tony Hubbard is to become director of the new unified inspection service for independent schools in January next year. He succeeds Richard Taylor, who is retiring. Mr Hubbard, 53, is one of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools working within the Office for Standards in Education, where he is in charge of the inspection of independent schools and has responsibility for gifted and talented children. The new Independent Schools Inspectorate, which comes into being formally, in 2000, will be responsible for the inspection of all 1,200-plus schools in the five associations belonging to the Independent Schools Council (ISC), under a framework agreed with OFSTED. He was educated at the King's School, Canterbury, Keble College, Oxford and University College, London. He taught classics at Downside, the boys' Catholic boarding school, and was a part-time tutor for the Open University before joining HM Inspectorate of Schools in 1982.

David McMurray (left) is to retire after 15 years as head of Oundle, the independent boarding school in Peterborough, at the end of the summer term. Mr McMurray taught English at Stowe School and then became head of department at Fettes College, where he taught Tony Blair, before becoming headmaster of Loretto, and then of Oundle in 1984. He modernised many aspects of Oundle and introduced co-education in 1990.

His successor, Ralph Townsend, 47, has been head of Sydney grammar school, an independent boys' school in Australia, since 1989. Dr Townsend is a former Oxford don who was head of English at Eton from 1985 to 1989.

Rachel Allard has been appointed headteacher of Grey Coat Hospital, Westminster, a voluntary-aided comprehensive for 950 girls. She succeeds Marion Parsons, who has become head of Islington Green School. Rachel Allard has been deputy headteacher of St Saviour's and St Olave's School in Southwark since 1995. Before that, she taught in Nigeria and at several London schools.

Michael Oakley is retiring as chief executive of the Girls' Day School Trust at the end of the year, after 15 years in the post. His successor will be John Boal, currently bursar of University College School, Hampstead.

Linda Tolson is retiring after 31 years as head of Moor Park Infant School, Bispham, Blackpool, at the end of the summer term.

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