To some, he's the biggest villain in education - Tony Blair's henchman in an evil plot to privatise state schools. Education Correspondent Shahid Naqvi met schools minister Andrew Adonis, the man who holds the future of our children in his hands
Imagine the Government as the evil galactic empire in Star Wars.
Tony Blair would be the dark, sinister emperor, overseeing the implementation of his diabolical masterplan.
Like his Star Wars counterpart, he would need a Darth Vader-like henchman to make sure everything went to plan.
Andrew Adonis, in the eyes of some, is such a figure - at least in the field of education.
As chief architect of the city academy programme, he is viewed as Emperor Tony's servant, helping to turn public services to the dark side of the private sector. Like Darth Vader, he even carries the title of lord as well.
Waiting to meet him at a Birmingham school, it's difficult not to have the Star Wars theme thumping through my head.
I almost expect him to appear fully-helmeted and complete with flowing black robes. Arise Lord Adonis! My palms were sweating.
The reality, of course, is somewhat different.
"Andrew" as he likes to be called is affability itself. He's slight in build, with receding hair. He doesn't even put my throat in a two-fingered death lock from a distance.
Despite appearances, he is arguably the most influential man in education today, whose vision is changing the future of secondary schools.
Lord Adonis was in Birmingham to endorse the council's plan to create seven privately-sponsored city academies.
He chose to start his visit at Kings Norton Girls School which has boosted its GCSE five A* to C pass rate from 30 per cent to 96 per cent in a decade.
"What we want to make possible is that kind of rate of improvement taking place at all schools in the country," he said. "It is a realistic objective if we get in place the right support and investment involving good buildings and the right leadership and vision for schools."
A major part of that vision is to break down an "overtly academic curriculum" by introducing vocational, industry-linked subjects.
To this end, 14 vocational diplomas in areas like healthcare and engineering are to come on line by the end of the decade.
They are intended to play a big part in turning around schools dogged by persistent failure, transforming them into business-sponsored centres focused on vocational subjects.
"That in particular is what the trust schools and the academies are about - a stronger bond between schools and the contribution that the community can make," said Lord Adonis.
"The bog-standard comprehensive in the sense of a school without a specialism or a mission is largely gone.
"Almost all the schools in Birmingham are now specialist schools. They teach the whole of the curriculum, but they are also teaching as a centre of excellence, offering additional opportunities in that specialism."
The importance of "choice" has played a big part in Lord Adonis' educational philosophy. But there are those who worry it's a commodity that is enjoyed more by some than others.
"It is important parents have choice," he added. "But what most people want is a choice of a good local school. We are not redistributing a fixed number of places in good schools. We want all schools in the country to become good schools so parents aren't choosing on the basis of a good or bad school but the particular strength or excellence of their children."
Lord Adonis' vision is to create "non-selective schools, that achieve as high as grammar schools have traditionally achieved for the top of the ability range."
Unsurprisingly, he is fully behind Birmingham's plans to create seven academies, believing they will play a key part in realising this vision.
"They are moving into the most challenging areas of the city. Those schools that haven't historically had the level of support and range of opportunities for their pupils, which now have the chance to develop a successful institution."
The Government's target is to create 200 academies and give all schools a chance to have trust status which involves private sponsorship but, unlike academies, not an initial £2 million investment.
He points out GCSE results at existing academies are rising at a rate more than four times the national average and the institutions are proving oversubscribed.
However, a rebel-alliance of teacher unions opposed private sector control of state schools are unlikely to give up without a fight.
"There has been a lot of debate because it is new," said Lord Adonis.
"But there is less controversy now because they are succeeding."
And with that - his light sabre distinctly unrattled by my questioning - Tony Blair's unassuming lord of darkness is off.