The cabinet reshuffle of the minority government which Theresa May ‘scrambled to put together’ according to Schoolsweek has reshaped Department for Education.
Education Secretary Justine Greening and Schools Minister Nick Gibb retain their jobs whereas Children’s Minister Edward Timpson has lost his seat and Skills Minister Robert Halfon has been sacked. Anne Milton and Robert Goodwill have been appointed their successors but it is unclear as of yet which one will do which job.
Former Education Committee Chair Neil Carmichael was also defeated in a shock upset at the polls and hands the constituency of Stroud, Gloucestershire to Labour MP and teacher David Drew.
Lord Nash, advocate of the free schools program and director of Future Academies remains and is eligible to become education minister in the House of Lords.
Justine Greening’s re-appointment was an issue of controversy amongst many as she was not over enthusiastic about the government’s plans to implement new grammar schools and further the free school program. May was expected to replace her with a more willing subordinate but after a steady year as Education Secretary, Greening who clinched the vote by less than 2,000 will head the DfE once more.
Nick Gibb’s re-appointment demonstrates ‘continuity’ in the May reshuffle according to TES. Gibb has been under fire recently for the changes made to the SATs which have reportedly made the exam harder and less accurate at assessing students’ ability. Gibb admitted himself that the SATs last year did not go as ‘smoothly’ as he had hoped.
Anne Milton, former Health Minister and MP for Guildford since 2005 has been strongly against rising welfare benefits and the Trident Nuclear weapons system. She was hailed a ‘saint’ by the Daily Telegraph for not claiming her second home as an expense and has received little protest since 2010 when she said that obese patients should be called ‘fat’ so that they took responsibility for their condition.
Robert Goodwill has previously been working in the departments of transport and immigration, whilst representing Scarborough and Whitby as their MP. Goodwill is a self proclaimed ‘staunch Eurosceptic’ although he voted to remain in the EU. The farmer was condemned and fined around £5,000 for taking advantages of the governmental expense system after saying:
“I fly from Leeds/Bradford to Brussels and we get a set fee of around £500, but if I buy a cheaper ticket, economy class for about £160 and £250, I can pocket the difference and, as a capitalist, also as a British Conservative, I see it as a challenge to buy cheap tickets and make some profit on the system.”
The Shadow education squad, comprising of Angela Rayner, Mike Kane and Emma Lewell-Buck have all been comfortably re-elected. They will continue efforts to instate Jeremy Corbyn’s plan for a ‘national education service’, a key policy of the Labour manifesto.