Will the new minister get to grips with pressing problems like teacher retention, or head for new directions?
Damian Hinds replaced Justine Greening as education secretary after she resigned from government yesterday.
Delighted to be appointed Education Secretary – looking forward to working with the great teachers & lecturers in our schools, colleges & universities giving people the opportunities to make the most of their lives— Damian Hinds (@DamianHinds) January 8, 2018
Hinds has been Conservative MP for East Hampshire since 2010 and has moved from the post of employment minister. He was educated at St Ambrose College, a Catholic grammar school in Cheshire, before studying philosophy, politics and economics at the University of Oxford.
After a relatively short 546 days in her post, Greening – the first comprehensive-educated secretary of state for education – refused the post of minister for work and pensions as part of a cabinet reshuffle. Her resignation comes just a month since she set out a new action plan for social mobility.
Honour & privilege to serve in Govt since 2010. Social mobility matters to me & our country more than my ministerial career. I'll continue to do everything I can to create a country that has equality of opportunity for young people & I’ll keep working hard as MP for Putney.— Justine Greening (@JustineGreening) January 8, 2018
Calls for stability
Hinds has worked on the issue of social mobility before, chairing the all-party parliamentary group on social mobility in 2012. But there are concerns he will scrap existing plans like this in favour of more headline-grabbing initiatives for the department for education. Speaking to Schools Week, Paul Whiteman, general secretary for the headteacher union NAHT warned new education secretaries ‘often feel that new announcements are obligatory’. Many hope Hinds prioritises stability over new initiatives.
Well, after so many ministers in the role over the last 7 years, please bring stability in policy decisions and listen to all stakeholders in the sector including industry to prepare for & address the huge future skills need especially in #STEM & #engineering #cabinetreshuffle— Scott Wilkins (@ScottWilkins80) January 8, 2018
A long to-do list
Two other issues (among many) the education community hopes Hinds addresses are school budgets and teacher recruitment and retention. In science, retention is a particular problem, as science teachers were reported as 26% more likely to leave their school than similar teachers in other subjects.
First priority has to be to look at teacher retention and then looking at the mess that is the multiple routes into teaching.— Paul Hopkins (@hopkinsmmi) January 8, 2018
Funding, teacher recruitment and retention (mainly addressing workload) have to be key focuses here! Hoping to see a bright future for education, a sector close to my heart!— Matt Roberts (@Mroberts90Matt) January 8, 2018
Job number 1. LISTEN to us— Ricky Emms (@trickyricky83) January 8, 2018
Job number 2. Give us adequate funding.
Job number 3. Stop changing things that don't need changing, change the things that do (with advice from the sector) and let us do what we do best... Educate children.