David Hargreaves

April 28, 2000

When he was chief inspector of the Inner London Education Authority in the 1980s, David Hargreaves referred to teaching as "a grumbling profession".

His attacks on teacher trainers, educational researchers and some aspects of education policy since then have sparked grumbles in other quarters too. For that reason, his appointment as chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, succeeding Nick Tate, will raise eyebrows.

But there is no doubt that he has enough experience, drive and willingness to speak out to achieve the "revolution" in national assessment that he wants.

Educated at Bolton School and Christ's College, Cambridge, he taught at Hull grammar school in the 1960s before joining the University of Manchester as research associate in sociology, later becoming reader in education. In 1979, he moved to the University of Oxford, where he stayed for five years before becoming ILEA chief inspector. Since 1988, he has been professor of education at the University of Cambridge but has been active elsewhere, including serving on the Economic and Social Research Council.

He is now on the board of the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency and the National Educational Research Forum, which was set up last year after he lobbied for it, and is vice-chairman of the government's Standards Task Force.

Among the suggestions that have earned him the reputation of a maverick are: a sabbatical for long-serving teachers, a more flexible curriculum to play to pupils' individual strengths, more work-based apprenticeships and 20 per cent of university places reserved for people over .

He also recently predicted a move to more learning from home using new technology.

Another saying from his ILEA days is: "Other professionals get tired. Teachers become exhausted."

People is edited by Harriet Swain and researched by Lynne Williams.

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