Got a Lancaster or Morecambe story? Contact us.
Hoare appointed new Ofsted chairman
Businessman David Hoare has been selected as the new chairman of schools regulator Ofsted, finally ending a furious Coalition row over the appointment.
Mr Hoare - until recently chairman of mail company DX Group and a trustee of AET, the largest academy group in the UK - will take up his new role in September.
Announcing the appointment, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: "He is a proven business leader who has the expertise in leadership and governance crucial to helping Ofsted through a significant period of change and reform.
"He is also passionate about education and his work with academies across the country shows he shares my commitment to ever higher standards in our schools, for all children but particularly the most disadvantaged."
Mr Hoare said he was looking forward to working closely with the Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, to raise standards - particularly for disadvantaged pupils.
"Ofsted has a key role helping to improve the leadership of our schools and the performance of our pupils. I look forward to being part of the team," he said.
The move comes after a bitter battle within the Coalition - with accusations by the Liberal Democrats that former education secretary Michael Gove was trying to politicise the job.
Lib Dem Schools Minister David Laws was said to have been furious when Mr Gove announced in February that current Ofsted chair Baroness Morgan - a former senior aide to Tony Blair - would not have her contract extended.
The Lib Dems were further enraged by reports that Mr Gove was lining up multi-millionaire Tory donor and Carphone Warehouse co-founder David Ross to take over the position.
However Mr Gove's demotion to Chief Whip in David Cameron's reshuffle earlier this month and his replacement by Ms Morgan appears to have cleared the way for the dispute to be settled.
Mr Hoare - who has been chairman of a number of companies including Virgin Express, Paragon Group and Laura Ashley and is chairman of the Teenage Cancer Trust - is likely to be seen as a far less contentious choice.
Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said: "The Tories have shown they cannot be trusted with Ofsted.
"They first undermined its independence by sacking Sally Morgan and trying to appoint cronies in her place.
"Playing politics with children's education by filling posts with the Tories' nearest and dearest is not acceptable.
"Labour wants an independent schools inspectorate that focuses on raising children's performance, not politics, and a reversal of this Government's damaging policy of allowing unqualified teachers into the classroom."