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Astrid Goldman

David Spicer

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Basic Information

Name: Astrid Goldman
Avatar: Anne Hidalgo
Age: 64
Sex: Female
Ethnicity: White British
Marital Status: Married [Second marriage]
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Party: Labour and Co-Operative
Political Outlook: New Labour, progressive, socialised in Brownite circles 
Constituency: North Tyneside
Year Elected: 1997
Education: State comp, BA & M.Ed (Leeds)

1964-1974: Teacher
1974-1985: Headteacher 
1985-1996: School Improvement Advisor to the LEA and Ofsted Inspector 

Political Career:
Member of Parliament, North Tyneside 1997-Present
Parliamentary Undersecretary of State (Education) 1998-1999
Minister of State (Schools) 1999-2004
Key sponsor of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, Learning and Skills Act 2000, Children's Act 2004

Astrid Margaret Goldman, née Thomas, was born to a middle class family in Tynemouth. She grew up largely in the city, her father being a solicitor. Astrid was educated at state schools and had a particular passion for mathematics. After completing Sixth Form, attaining a HND in Mathematics, she attended Leeds University where she studied to become a teacher. 
While at University, Astrid met future husband Antonio Ardovini. Ardovini, a vintner from Italy, was considerably older and became infatuated by the younger, bright Astrid. The pair married shortly after Astrid began teaching and children quickly followed. However, the marriage was short-lived and after a series of rows, the couple divorced in 1967. The fall-out was calamitous and after several years of legal battles, Astrid walked away with a considerable sum, shares in the family vineyards and a large collection of luxury produce. 
At work, Astrid was flying and after several years focussing her efforts working with disadvantaged communities, Astrid landed her first headship. A hard-worker, Astrid was astounded by the sometimes underachievement of her male counterparts. Her frustrations led to her reputation as a Head as someone who could quickly get to grips with a school and turn their fortunes around. For a decade, Astrid followed this pattern; taking a school in dire-straights, correcting their course, making fast improvements and moving on. 

During this time, she met her second husband Sir James Goldman. The pair married in 1979 and while the marriage allowed her to use the style ‘Lady Goldman’ she opted not to in her working life. 

The Local Education Authority approached Astrid and asked her to target several local schools. She took-up a job opportunity as an Improvement Advisor, working with many schools across the North east and North Yorkshire.
Upon the creation of Ofsted in 1992, Astrid become one of it’s first inspectors, focusing on assessing mathematics, teaching and learning standards and school leadership. 

A lifetime member of the Labour Party in the Old Right tradition, a fierce believer in the power of the teaching unions, Astrid was swayed by the politics of the 1980s and the failure of the left to make electoral ground and moved rightward in her thinking. The politics of John Smith and Tony Blair appealed to her gut for improvement and she campaigned with the local party, eventually being selected as their candidate for North Tyneside in 1997. 

A key supporter of new Prime Minister Blair’s education promises, Astrid supported for the first year from the backbenches but was offered the opportunity to work as a Parliamentary Undersecretary of State at the DfE. There, Astrid worked on the School Standards and Framework Act and helped guide it through the House of Commons. Her background in school improvement was an asset. Upon the successful completion of the Act, she was promoted to Minister of State for Schools and sponsored the Learning and Skills Act through the House of Commons. Astrid formed close bonds with the "Brownite" clique of MPs and advisors. 

Astrid's career in Government was cut suddenly short in 2004. Astrid had a series of very public spats with fellow Minister Margaret Hodge over the necessity for a Children's Commissioner. Astrid was adamantly in favour of its creation, whereas Hodge had resisted. Following the Laming report into failures of public services in the death of Victoria Climbe, Astrid was instrumental in pushing through the Children's Act 2004.  Despite this success, her very public criticism of fellow Government Ministers during the passage, including her allegation that the Prime Minister's reaction had been "cold and sluggish", cost her her role. Astrid resigned the day after the bill passed. 

She remained loyal to the party from the backbenches and close to the Brown administration during his eventual Premiership, though without a formal role. 

David Spicer MP | Conservative 
Member of Parliament for Skipton and Ripon
Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Work and Pensions

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