Downing Street has confirmed that Sir Theodore Agnew, the founder of the Inspiration Trust, has been appointed as the new minister for academies, following the departure of Lord Nash.
Schools Week revealed earlier today that Agnew was being touted as Nash’s successor as the DfE’s minister in the House of Lords.
Now his appointment has been announced by the prime minister’s office, which has confirmed its move to give Agnew a peerage.
A Downing Street spokesperson said the Queen had been “pleased” to approve Agnew’s appointment as an “unpaid parliamentary under secretary of state” at the Department for Education, “on the departure from government of Lord Nash”.
The spokesperson said the Queen would also confer a life peerage on Agnew.
The DfE says Agnew will be “stepping away” from “all relevant business interests” while he is serving as a minister.
He is in the process of agreeing arrangements with the officials to “ensure that processes are put in place to prevent any conflict of interest between his ministerial role and his charitable interests”, the department says.
The Inspiration Trust has also announced that Agnew will stand down as its chair following his appointment.
Trust spokesman James Goffin said Agnew had made a “massive contribution” to improving education in Norfolk and Suffolk.
“He has given his time and expertise to growing the trust from a single school to a family of 14, and now includes some of the top performing schools in the region,” said Goffin.
“We congratulate him on this appointment.”
Justine Greening, the education secretary, says Agnew’s experience in government and education “makes him ideally placed” to help create a school system “that gives every child the chance to fulfil their potential, regardless of their background”.
“He’s already been doing this through his work at the Inspiration Trust, which has shown its capacity to transform lives.
“I’d also like to thank John Nash for the dedication and passion he has given to his role as minister. John has overseen a transformation of standards across our schools during his tenure and I wish him the very best in his retirement.”
Agnew said he was “determined” to ensure that every child in every part of the country should have the same chance to go to a “good” school.
“It’s a real privilege to be taking on this role at the Department for Education, and I look forward to working with the great leaders and teachers across the profession and getting on with this incredibly important job.”