So I believe Huw posted this news first on Brickset, but there appears to be two new minifigure collections associated with the Dacta LEGO line. Dacta is often affiliated with educators, but these two sets appeared on the main UK LEGO site.
The Fairytale and Historic Collection and Community Minifigure Collection are brand new to 2011. LEGO has released similar minifig collections through their education arms before but the Fairytale and Historic Collection (pictured above) is a new one.
I looked on the LEGO Education site run by Pitsco in the US, but no mentions as of yet. You don't need to be an educator, by the way, to purchase from LEGO Education. I've done so on a couple of occasions.
As always there's the question of 'quality' (one of these days I'll talk to LEGO and get the real skinny on this whole 'Chinese plastic' debate). The UK site has 22 figures listed for 40 GBP. There do appear to be a nice collection of various minifig parts and elements so you may want to check it out when you get a chance.
As always, we'll let you know if and when these sets might be available outside of Europe.
You can read the full article on Brickset.