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SHEPHARD SETS OUT FIRST TASKS AT EDUCATION

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On her appointment as secretary of state for education Gillian Shephard set out her immediate priorities as the con...
On her appointment as secretary of state for education Gillian Shephard set out her immediate priorities as the consolidation of the government's education reforms and the achievement of further progress in raising standards.

Mrs Shephard said:

'I regard education as a great challenge and one of the government's most vital portfolios - not only for its economic importance but also its social and cultural significance.

'Very great progress has been made over the past decade with the development of the national curriculum and testing. These have brought great change but are vital to the improvement of standards.

'My own professional background is in education but I need to get quickly to grips with the changes, the thinking and the concerns of the educational world.

'Therefore my first task after meeting staff in the department will be to meet teachers, parents and all concerned in education and I am putting this in hand at once.'

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