Sir David Bell has been chief education officer for Newcastle, head of Ofsted, and permanent secretary at the Department of Education. He is now Vice Chancellor of Reading University. His views are difficult for politicians to shrug off.
In a Radio 4 interview on 9 January, he said:
I think the Education Department and governments in general have too much power over the education system. We have nearly 400,000 teachers, 20,000 schools and I think we need to just trust teachers, trust schools more, to make the right decisions, in the interest of the pupils they teach.
You can read here some key extracts from his speech later that day to the Association for Science Education. Extracts David Bell speech to ASE