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Thursday, 25 November, 1999, 18:03 GMT
Sheerman to head education committee
Barry Sheerman The committee is set to examine higher education

Barry Sheerman is to be appointed as chairman of the House of Commons Education Select Committee.

The influential all-party committee of MPs has recently criticised the management style of the Chief Inspector of Schools, Chris Woodhead, and put forward proposals for grants for further education students.

Mr Sheerman, a Labour MP for 20 years and former university lecturer, has served as an opposition frontbench spokesman on education and is currently a governor of the London School of Economics.

Fellow LSE governors include the Prime Minister's wife, Cherie Booth; Labour peers Melvyn Bragg and David Puttnam, and another former chair of the education select committee, and now junior education and employment minister, Margaret Hodge.

His promotion from the bankbenches to lead the committee comes as it prepares to examine the government's plans for higher education and the provision of early years' education.

As a backbencher, Mr Sheerman demanded action from the education secretary last year, when he called for greater efforts to widen access to the leading universities.

Mr Sheerman told the House of Commons that it was "a national tragedy and a scandal" that talented comprehensive school students were not gaining places at the top universities.

The MP for Huddersfield will fill the vacancy left by Malcolm Wicks, who was promoted in the summer reshuffle to become a junior education minister.
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See also:
12 Nov 99 |  Education
Training plan for school governors
30 Jul 99 |  Education
Inspectors reject MPs' criticisms
28 Apr 99 |  Education
'Raw deal' for bright children
22 Jul 99 |  Education
Shopping for governors in the supermarket
14 Jun 99 |  Education
Woodhead: 'I am paid to challenge mediocrity'

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