Education Diary: Independent Schools Council appoints new chief executive

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The Independent Online

The Independent Schools Council has appointed a new chief executive, which is bad news for journalists. David Lyscom, who assumes the position on Monday, is a career diplomat. He was our man in Bratislava, later moving on to represent the UK at the OECD. Why is this bad news? Well, he'll be far too smooth to talk about a "cold war" between state and private schools, as did his predecessor, the former Royal Navy rear admiral Chris Parry, who lasted six weeks at the helm of the ISC. Nor will Lyscom describe state school oiks as "unteachable" or their parents "ignorant" (again, Parry). We also doubt whether he will describe state education as so bad that it is "offensive" to parents (you guessed it: Parry). How we miss Parry and his military metaphors. Still, congrats all the same, David.

Following on from last week's news of TESconnect, the social networking website for teachers, we bring news of the School of Everything – the online community for adult learning. The website ( has more than 1,200 teachers offering tuition in a number of specialist areas, from yoga to tango. The site recently won a New Statesman New Media award, presented by Gordon Brown. It is said to be the UK's biggest school. Prime Minister gives seal of approval to titan school? Surely not.

This Monday is International Literacy Day. To celebrate, Book Aid International is launching "Books Change Lives", a huge fundraising campaign. The NGO aims to raise more than £5m to help send 750,000 books to sub-Saharan Africa. To add a bit of beef – not to mention James Bond-like charm – to proceedings, novelist Sebastian Faulks will be hosting the launch, which takes place at the London Review Bookshop in Bloomsbury at 6.30pm. See

So it's back to school this week (well, we couldn't do the whole diary without mentioning it), and what's the biggest worry on the teacher's mind? Is it the lesson plans? The target-setting? The room packed to the rafters with over-enthusiastic, over-excitable, out-of-control young things? No, says Brummie IT firm Innovit, in a press release. It is the veritable lottery of whether the school's IT system is going to work that stresses them out. In these days of electronic, interactive white-boards, an intricately choreographed lesson plan can crumble at the appearance of an on-screen error message. Electronic breakdowns, according to Innovit managing director Andy Dent are more likely to occur in the first weeks back, asthe summer holiday is used by schools for essential IT upgrades. It is, he says, "like the chaos caused on the railways over New Year". Good grief!

And finally, best of luck to A-level student David Smith, who will be representing Great Britain at the Paralympic Games, which begin in Beijing on Saturday. Smith, 19, and a recent graduate from Treloar College in Hampshire, will represent the UK in the sport of boccia, a game designed to be played by people with cerebral palsy in which players throw leather balls at a target. Smith won Disabled Sports Personality of the Year in 2007 and is current boccia world champion. No pressure for the Paralympics, then. Still, come the autumn, whether he's a gold-medallist or not, he will still just be A.N. Other fresher on the Swansea University aerospace engineering course.