Theresa May had a Cabinet Reshuffle yesterday with Damian Hinds taking over DfE when Justine Greening resigned and Esther McVey moved back into DWP.
Damian Hinds was appointed Secretary of State for Education on 8 January 2018. He was previously Minister of State for the Department of Work and Pensions from July 2016 to January 2018.
Esther McVey is the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. She was previously Minister of State for Employment from 2013 to 2015 and prior to her new Secretary of State role, she was Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip).
Sam Gyimah has been appointed universities minister for England in the Prime Minister's cabinet reshuffle.
With Damian previously working at DWP could we see a new resurgence in linking holistic employability and skills? In her previous role Esther McVey was an advocate of sustainable employment.
So how has the sector responded to the Cabinet Reshuffle and the two new Secretary of States?
David Hughes, AoC Chief Executive, said:
I was sorry to see Justine Greening leaving this post. She did a lot of good work to build collaboration with AoC and colleges, she had a strong and personal commitment to social mobility and she was one of a few in Government with direct experience of learning in a college. Her legacy will include a commitment within the Department for Education to greater investment in technical and professional education and stronger support for colleges to help them deliver great learning opportunities across the country.
I am looking forward to building a relationship with Damian Hinds in his new role as Education Secretary. We know from his time at DWP that he is someone we can work with and who will share our strong commitment to social justice. He faces many challenges across schools and universities policy, as well as many opportunities which colleges offer to his Department in delivering the education and skills our country needs.
KirstyMcHugh, Chief Executive of the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), said:
ERSA warmly welcomes the appointment of the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. ERSA enjoyed a close working relationship with Esther McVey during her time as Employment Minister, during which time she had responsibility for many substantial employment support programmes and worked closely with ERSA on a wide range of issues, including how subcontractors fared within back to work provision.
The minister’s return is particularly helpful given the high turnover of ministers at Work and Pensions. Good government depends on the ability of ministers to accumulate knowledge, experience and wisdom in their specialist area – Esther will bring that in droves to the department.
ERSA particularly look forward to working with Esther on replacing the European Social Fund, Universal Credit reforms and supporting disadvantaged groups.
AELP CEO Mark Dawe, said:
AELP welcomes Damian Hinds to his new post. The Secretary of State arrives in the light of some encouraging news on UK productivity levels but to make any increase sustainable, the government must continue to invest in skills training and technical education. This means reversing an almost two-thirds cut in annual apprenticeship funding to SME employers which is potentially very damaging to the economy and the Industrial Strategy, especially when businesses are trying to address post-Brexit skills challenges. We are delighted that the minister brings with him a shared commitment to social mobility where apprenticeships and traineeships play a vital role in transforming the lives of young people across the country and we look forward to working with him.
Vince Cable, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:
Justine Greening has been pushed out of government. The only rational explanation would be that this is an acknowledgement that the Conservatives have a failed schools policy.
Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson, added:
Another Education Secretary! Just what schools need. Here is what I would do first : one, fund schools properly, two, get out on the front line and listen. What schools need is stability to get on with the job. Not grandstanding.
Stephen Evans, Chief Executive, Learning and Work Institute, said:
I congratulate Damian Hinds on his appointment as Education Secretary and Esther McVey on her appointment as the Work and Pensions Secretary. They both have huge jobs, vital to the future prosperity and fairness of the country. They also have lots in their in-trays, from apprenticeship reforms, technical education, devolution of the Adult Education Budget, rollout and reform of Universal Credit, implementation of a disability employment strategy, and many other things besides.
I hope that they will both take a collaborative approach. There are lots of people in our sectors who want them to succeed, and millions of lives relying on them doing so. I hope they will harness that good will and work together with all of us. We at Learning and Work Institute certainly look forward to doing so.
Collab Group, said:
We would like to congratulate Damian Hinds on his appointment as Secretary of State for Education and wish Justine Greening well.We hope that at a time of such critical importance for the further education sector the commitment to the Governments skills agenda is maintained. In a little over two years the sector has witnessed three new appointees to Secretary of State and four appointees to the skills minister brief. Ensuring continuity will be crucially important to secure the success of existing reforms, particularly with respect to the implementation of Institutes of Technology, the Careers strategy and T-levels. We look forward to continuing our conversations with DfE to ensure that FE colleges remain at the heart of these important initiatives.
Andy Wilson, Chief Executive of the Capital City College Group said:
While we are sorry to see Justine Greening leave the vital role of Education Secretary after only 18 months in the job, we look forward to working with Damian Hinds as he gets his teeth into his new brief. As one of the country’s leading college groups, we know that Further Education can help bridge the gap in attainment between pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and those from more affluent ones.
As a former Chair of the APPG on Social Mobility, we hope that Damien Hinds will understand FE’s key role and will chose to work with the sector to improve educational opportunity for all our young people. We hope he will also maintain Justine Greening’s commitment to expanding technical education.
Dame Janet Beer, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, said:
I congratulate the new universities minister on his appointment. I look forward to working with him to develop policy that supports universities to maximise their positive impact on the economy, society and students.
The promised review of tertiary education funding in England and establishing the new regulatory framework and Office for Students will likely be top of the new minister's in-tray. Improving post-study work visas for international students, supporting universities' role in promoting social mobility and securing our long-term participation in the European programmes Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ should also be priorities.