Politics

Damian Hinds returns to DfE as schools minister

Appointment follows resignation of schools minister Nick Gibb

Appointment follows resignation of schools minister Nick Gibb

Former education secretary Damian Hinds has returned to the Department for Education as a minister of state, Downing Street has announced.

Schools Week understands he is replacing schools minister Nick Gibb, who resigned this week to pursue a job in the diplomatic service.

Hinds is the sixth person to hold the role in 18 months.

Education secretary Gillian Keegan said she was “delighted” to welcome Hinds back to the DfE as schools minister.

“He is a hugely experienced and capable minister who I know will continue to build on Nick Gibb’s fantastic record of driving up standards.”

Hinds said he was “so pleased to be joining Gillian Keegan’s team”.

“I’m looking forward to working with the inspiring teachers and leaders in our schools, and all at [the DfE].”

He added Keegan was “quite right about the record of the incomparable Nick Gibb”.

Hinds led the DfE between January 2018 and July 2019, during which time the government completed its reforms to relationships, sex and health education. His new role means he is likely to preside over the current review of those reforms.

On his watch, coasting and floor standards for schools were scrapped, and efforts to hold academy trusts to account were stepped up.

But a new coasting schools measure was introduced last year, which sees greater intervention in schools rated less than ‘good’ at two inspections in a row.

Sixth schools minister in 18 months

Speaking to Schools Week after his departure, Hinds spoke of the fact there was “still an awful lot of work to do” on social mobility, and called for greater understanding of the role of education technology.

“Also character and resilience, which I think is such a fundamental part of social mobility and general preparation for life. I would’ve liked to have been able to develop our approach there further.”

Hinds returned to the government front bench in 2021 as minister of state for security and borders, and had served as minister for prisons, parole and probation since October last year.

During last year’s first Conservative leadership election, Hinds co-authored a Times article with Gibb backing Rishi Sunak, titled ‘We trust Rishi Sunak to deliver for our children’s futures.

Sunak lost that leadership race, but became prime minister later in the year after Liz Truss resigned after 49 days in office.

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