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Clare Venables has been appointed by the Royal Shakespeare Company as director of education, to lead "an enlarged and ground-breaking programme" of education and training. Ms Venables is currently principal of the Brit School of Performing Arts and Technology in London. Before that, she was director of some of the country's leading regional theatres, including the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, and the Sheffield Crucible.

Audrey Osler, senior lecturer in education at Birmingham University, will become professor of education at the University of Leicester on May 1. Dr Osler, who specialises in human rights and equality in education, will be director of research and, from the autumn, also director of the centre for citizenship studies in education Mary Ann Collins, house mistress and combined science co-ordinator at Bablake School, Coventry, has been appointed deputy headmistress of the independent Brighton College. A graduate in aeronautical engineering from Bristol University, Ms Collins worked for the Ministry of Defence before moving into teaching. She is the college's first female deputy head and will succeed John Spencer, who is now senior master in charge of sports and overseas students.

Edwyn Williams has been appointed general secretary of Ucac, the Welsh teachers' union, following the retirement of G Wyn Jones. Mr Williams, currently deputy general secretary, has been active in the union for several years and currently runs the education and the headteachers' and deputies' department. He says he is looking forward to helping Ucac realise one of its main objectives - that ofhaving an independent education system for Wales.

Derek D'Hooghe, director of education for Derby City Council since 1996, has retired due to ill-health. Mr D'Hooghe, who has spent most of his career in education, was previously deputy chief education officer for Staffordshire. He has also worked for Coventry City Council and was co-ordinator of Leicestershire's TVEI pilot project before becoming the city's director of education.

James Andrews, acting chief executive for the last year, has been appointed chief executive of Glasgow City Council, Scotland's largest council.

John Fowler, assistant head of education at the Local Government Association, is to be seconded to the London Borough of Bromley for six months. An official of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities and subsequently the LGA for the last seven years, Mr Fowler will help Bromley develop its services to children and young people. He will return to the LGA in September.

Tom Megahy, currently head of Elmhirst School in Barnsley, has been appointed headteacher of a new school within Nottingham's Bulwell education action zone. The new comprehensive, still to be named, is part of the Government's Fresh Start initiative, where an LEA can replace a school in special measures with one that creates the potential for success. It will open in September on the Alderman Derbyshire school site with a newstaffing structure andcurriculum.

Nick Danagher, Chai Patel and Baroness Uddin have been appointed to the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work. Mr Danagher works for Surrey County Council and chairs the Independent Living Committee (British Council of Disabled People); Mr Patel, a doctor, is a founder partner of Chai Patel Associates and set up the long-term care company, Court Cavendish Group; Baroness Uddin has been involved in the personal social services since 1980 and is a manager for Newham Social Services Department. The appointments are for two years.

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