Theresa May has completed a reshuffle of her ministerial team. Below we look at what this means for the Department for Education team:

New Appointments

Damian Hinds – Secretary of State 

The major shakeup comes at the top of the Department. After 544 days in office, Justine Greening resigned from her post having refused to take the role offered to her at Work and Pensions. Her replacement is Damian Hinds MP, who has been a member of the Education Committee and Chair of the APPG for Social Mobility. Whilst in this role he stressed how important the teaching profession in achieving greater social mobility. Hinds’ educational background (catholic grammar school) has led to speculation that selective education may be set to return to the agenda as part of the social mobility plan laid out by Justine Greening.

You can read our full profile of him here.

Nadhim Zahawi MP – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

It has not yet been confirmed but is fully expected that Zahawi is to replace Goodwill as Minister for Children and Families. Robert Goodwill, the minister responsible for special educational needs and disabilities was sacked having only been appointed to the role in June.

This is Zahawi’s first governmental role since he was elected as MP for Stratford-upon-Avon in 2010. Born in Iraq, he moved to the UK when he was 9 and went to King’s College School, an independent school in Wimbledon before studying Chemical Engineering at UCL.

Last year, Zahawi wrote for Con Home to support the expansion of existing grammars, and the creation of new selective schools. He has also written about apprenticeships and supports Nick Gibb’s mission to promote phonics.

Sam Gyimah MP – Minister for Higher Education

Gyimah returns to the DfE having been Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Childcare and Education from 2014 – July 2016 where he was responsible for pupil premium and disadvantaged pupils. He replaces Jo Johnson as Minister for HE. He was elected MP for East Surrey in 2010 and has held various government roles including as private secretary to David Cameron in 2012.


Born in Buckinghamshire, he spent much of his early life in Ghana before returning to the UK to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford.

Gyimah has been a volunteer and fundraiser for the Down’s Syndrome Association.

Staying the same

Nick Gibb – Minister for School Standards 

Nick Gibb will be staying on as Minister for School Standards. Gibb has been a somewhat controversial figure in his time as Minister of State, following a series of reforms such as new tougher SATs, the English Baccalaureate and the introduction of a phonics check for all pupils in year 1.  .

Gibb’s remit will primarily be the same, though he will have to contend with the backlash from School Leaders and parents following complaints about new SATs difficulties and faces consultations on the new primary assessment system on the 22nd June. It is likely that Gibb will oversee the commitment by the Conservatives to build on the phonics screener, a new times tables check and ensuring 75 per cent of pupils enter the EBacc combination of GCSES by the end of the next parliament.

Lord Agnew – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System

Agnew became the lead for the Department for Education in the House of Lords back in September.

Agnew’s responsibilities include overseeing the different elements of the school system, tackling school under-performance, school governance and the government’s approach to behaviour and attendance.

Having made his money in insurance, Agnew first became interested in education after being “frustrated with the level of numeracy and literacy skills in the UK.” He became heavily involved with the Policy Exchange think tank, funding research into the Pupil Premium funding and advised Michael Gove on academies policy in the early days of the coalition government, he was also a prominent Conservative donor.

Agnew founded the Inspiration Trust in 2012, with 12 schools in Norfolk and Suffolk. Although he is an advocate of free schools, Agnew is strongly against grammar schools. He failed the 11+ himself, telling the Eastern Daily Press:  “I do remember very clearly feeling ‘Well, what does that mean for me?’. I’m a second class citizen from this day.”

The Rt Hon Anne Milton MP – Skills and Apprenticeships 


Elected as MP for Guildford in 2005. Milton trained as a nurse at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London and worked for the NHS for 25 years, as a district nurse.

Between 2010 and 2012 she served as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Public Health), Department of Health and was appointed a Government Whip in 2012.

Ms Milton has been a minister at the Department for Education for seven months, following her appointment as apprenticeships and skills minister in June 2017.