Robert Goodwill out, Nadhim Zahawi in at DfE

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Nadhim Zahawi has been made a junior minister in the Department for Education, and is tipped to replace the outgoing children and families minister Robert Goodwill.

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Nadhim Zahawi appointed a minister in the Department for Education, pictured last year with his constituent Steve Taylor, who ran Winchcombe Farm Day Nursery

Mr Zahawi, who has been MP for Stratford-upon-Avon since 2010, has been made parliamentary under-secretary of state in the DfE. Since July 2015 the MP has worked as an adviser to Gulf Keystone Petroleum, although reports before Christmas said he was expected to step down from the role. Mr Zahawi also founded pollsters YouGov in 2000 from an office in his garden shed.

As a member of David Cameron's policy board he came up with proposals to limit child benefit and child tax credits to families' first two children, which came into force in April 2017. He is married and has three children. Mr Zahawi also acted as an apprenticeships adviser in the Cameron government and as co-chair of the Apprenticeship Delivery Board.

In his capacity as a local MP, Mr Zahawi was presented with a petition by nursery owner Steve Taylor in May calling for the Government to rethink funding plans for 30 hours childcare. The nursery closed last month with Mr Taylor claiming losses of £5,000 a month over the past 12 months.

Writing on the Conservative Home website last month, Mr Zahawi praised the education minister Nick Gibb for introducing the Phonics Screening Check, which he credited for boosting standards in reading among primary school children.

Robert Goodwill, appointed last June, was responsible for early years and childcare policy, as well as vulnerable children and families.

Mr Goodwill’s portfolio covered children's social care, early years policy (including inspection and regulation), delivery of the 30 hours offer, social mobility, the pupil premium and safeguarding in schools.

The Scarborough News reported that Mr Goodwill said that the Prime Minister was 'making way for younger people' but that Theresa May retained his 'full support'.

In the Department for Education Damian Hinds has replaced Justine Greening as Education Secretary, and Jo Johnson, previously universities and science minister is now a minister at the Department for Transport and minister for London.

Sam Gymiah, who was has been made minister for higher education has been brought back into the DfE. He was previously childcare and education minister between August 2014 and July 2016.

The two ministers in the DfE whose jobs have not yet changed in the reshuffle are Anne Milton, minister of state for apprenticeships and skills and minister for women, and Mr Gibb, minister of state for school standards and minister for qualities. Lord Theodore Agnew, former chair of the Inspiration Academy Trust, replaced Lord Nash as academies minister last September.

Although Mr Zahawi's brief has not yet officially been confirmed by the DfE, Labour's shadow early years minister Tracy Brabin has welcomed his appointment as early years minister.

Ms Brabin said, 'I'd like to welcome Nadhim to his role as Under Secretary of State with responsibility for early years and look forward to meeting him soon. He's entering a world full of incredibly talented and dedicated practitioners and in his new role can transform young lives forever. The truth is that there are big challenges, nurseries are closing at a frightening rate, fewer people are signing up for early years teacher qualifications and Government policies are critically underfunded, so there is a lot of work for him to do.

'I'd like to thank outgoing minister Robert Goodwill for his courtesy in all of our exchanges, during his last debate in Parliament he announced 30 hours for foster children, so we finished on a high.'

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