Yesterday, the Prime Minister began a reshuffle of the cabinet, seeking to assemble a “strong and united team”. Part of that reshuffle included the sacking of former Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, and replacement with Nadhim Zahawi.
Gavin Williamson’s time in office was consumed by the Covid crisis, which saw two waves of mass school closures, two years of cancelled exams, major funding disputes, legal threats sent to heads, and record-high GCSE and A-level grades. Despite criticisms, the Prime Minister last week defended him in the Commons, stating that he had done a “heroic job” during the pandemic.
Nadhim Zahawi has moved from the post of Vaccines Minister to Education Secretary. He has previously served in the Department as children and families minister between January 2018 and July 2019. During this time, he expressed concerns at the lack of awareness about guidance on how schools should deal with incidents of peer-on-peer sexual abuse. Commenting on the announcement, Education Select Committee Chair Robert Halfon called Mr Zahawi a "good and compassionate man".
Also announced was that Nick Gibb would no longer hold the position of Schools Minister. He has held the role under four Education Secretaries and has been seen as central to key policy changes over the past 10 years. He stated on Twitter that he was sad to be leaving the role.