Damian Hinds replaces Justine Greening as education secretary

Katy Morton
Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The MP for East Hampshire was appointed as education secretary yesterday in the Prime Minister Theresa May’s reshuffle.

The reshuffle is ongoing so check back here for further updates.

The appointment is a promotion for Mr Hinds, who was previously a junior work and pensions minister, overseeing the introduction of Universal Credit.

He replaces Justine Greening who reportedly quit the Cabinet yesterday after losing her education portfolio and turning down the job of work and pensions secretary in Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle.

Home secretary Amber Rudd will take on Justine Greening's women and equalities brief.

Damian Hinds, a former member of the Commons Education Select Committee and once chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility, previously sided with the former education secretary Elizabeth Truss in her drive to make learning more structured in the early years.

A former grammar school pupil, he spent 18 years working in the pubs, brewing and hotel industries before entering politics.

Damian Hinds has been Conservative MP for East Hampshire since 2010.

Writing on Twitter, he said, 'Delighted to be appointed education secretary – looking forward to working with the great teachers and lecturers in our schools, colleges and universities giving people the opportunities to make the most of their lives.'

Other appointments in the reshuffle include Esther McVey as work and pensions secretary. She was previously deputy Chief Whip.

Jeremy Hunt will continue as health secretary but with the addition of social care to his brief in the now Department of Health and Social Care. Elizabeth Truss has also retained her role as chief secretary to the Treasury, with her brief including childcare policy and Tax-Free Childcare.

Sam Gyimah has returned to the Department for Education (DfE) as minister for universities and science, previously held by Jo Johnson, who is now minister for transport, as well as minister for London. Sam Gyimah has also been appointed a minister for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Sector comments

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said, 'We welcome Damian Hinds into his role as education secretary and look forward to working closely with him in the coming months.

'Though the importance of a quality early years education is no longer a matter for debate, Mr Hinds takes over DfE at a time when underfunding is testing the sector’s sustainability while providers continue to voice concerns about the increased schoolification of early education. A change in leadership at the department represents an excellent opportunity to revisit these issues and we look forward to representing the sector as the new secretary of state seeks to address them.'

Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), said, 'We welcome Damian Hinds into his new role at the DfE and wish him all the best.

'I have worked with him previously when he was in the Department for Work and Pensions, so look forward to working closely with him and his team.

'Given all the challenges facing nurseries who are trying to deliver the Government’s pledge of 30 funded hours on inadequate funding rates, early years must be given a high priority within his portfolio.

'The new secretary of state is particularly interested in the social mobility agenda. We hope he will look at reducing the earnings threshold for eligibility for 30 hours, which would enable more money to be invested in the scheme. If providers received a fair hourly rate, they would not need to charge parents of younger children such high fees to make up the shortfall, which would make childcare more affordable for lower income families.

'The sector needs continuity and stability, so we hope this new team will be in post for the foreseeable future.'

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders' union NAHT, said, 'We welcome Damian Hinds to education. As many predecessors have said, it is the best job in Government because of the impact it has on the futures of so many young people.

'For the past 18 months the DfE has been building a strong relationship with the profession. Free from needless 'big ticket' policy announcements significant progress has been made lately on areas like Primary assessment. We have also seen fresh ambitions to improve careers advice and guidance, sex and relationships education and social mobility.

'Children need stability and their teachers can only provide that if the backdrop of education policy provides continuity for the profession. 

'We look forward to developing the profession's relationship with Mr Hinds, building on the platform created by Justine Greening, working collaboratively with the profession and treating school staff with respect. New Secretaries of State often feel that new announcements are obligatory. In 2018, where budgets are at breaking point and recruitment is still a massive challenge, education does not need more upheaval.'

Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, joint general secretaries of the National Education Union (NEU), said, 'We had a good relationship with Justine Greening, with whom we had regular meetings. She listened to teachers and the unions, although she was not able to make the necessary changes in education policy. 

'We hope Damian Hinds will be similarly willing to meet and engage with us and the profession. And we hope he will be able to make the changes we need in education policy. Most crucially we hope he champions the need for extra funding for education and is able to get more money for education from the Treasury.'

Deborah Lawson, General Secretary of Voice: the union for education professionals, said, 'We welcome the appointment of Damian Hinds as Secretary of State for Education, and hope that he will build on the progress achieved by Justine Greening, in listening to, and building bridges with, the education and early years sector and professionals in difficult financial circumstances beyond her control.
'We look forward to meeting Damian Hinds at the earliest opportunity to seek assurances that there will be no delay in addressing the key issues affecting schools, colleges and early years settings, including: funding, the recruitment and retention crises, workload, pupil mental health, inspections, and the urgent need for a workforce strategy for education and implementation of the early years workforce strategy.'

Liz Bayram, chief executive of PACEY, said, 'PACEY would like to congratulate Damian Hinds on his appointment as education secretary. We look forward to working with him and his ministers in the coming months. Childcare and early years provision in England is truly at a crossroads. He therefore has a real opportunity to ensure high quality experiences for our pre-school children are enjoying today are not lost to future generation and through this, ensure disadvantaged children are supported to achieve their full potential.

'While the overwhelming majority of providers are now good or outstanding, their businesses are also under immense pressure. Increasing costs alongside poor funding levels for ‘free’ places for taking  their toll. The number of registered childminders has dropped by more than a quarter in the past five years. Improved funding levels, monthly payments and reduced red tape remain key to success and PACEY will continue to raise these issues with ministers.

'The Department must also follow through on its early years workforce strategy, to incentivise early years practitioners to stay in the sector, further develop their skills, and progress their careers. So there is much for the sector and the new education secretary to work together to achieve.'

Damian Hinds CV

  • January 2018: appointed education secretary
  • 2016-2018: minister for employment at the Department for Work and Pensions, with responsibility for employment strategy, support to help people back into work and employer engagement
  • 2015-2016: exchequer secretary to the Treasury
  • 2010-2012: member of the Education Select Committee
  • 2010: elected as MP for East Hampshire
  • 2007-2010: independent consultant specialising in revenue management
  • 2005-2007: strategy director at Green King, a pub retailer and brewer
  • 1995-2003: worked in various positions for the Intercontinental Hotels gro
  • 1992- graduated from the University of Oxford with a degree in philosophy, politics and economics.


Check back for further updates as the Prime Minister’s reshuffle continues.

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