Nick Timothy, a former New Schools Network director who served as chief of staff to prime minister Theresa May, has been appointed as a non-executive director of the Department for Education.

Announcing the appointment, a DfE spokesperson said Timothy would bring “a range of experience that will support our work as we continue to develop our world-leading education system”.

The DfE’s board consists of executive members, such as employed department directors and the permanent secretary Jonathan Slater, and non-executive members, who come from a range of different backgrounds. The board exists to advise on and monitor delivery of the department’s strategic priorities

Timothy, a former special adviser to May during her time as home secretary, was director of the NSN from 2015 to 2016, before he stepped down to work in Downing Street.

He resigned as a chief aide to the former prime minister in June 2017 after the Conservatives lost their majority at the general election that year.

Timothy is a huge fan of grammar schools, and is widely thought to have been the driving force behind May’s failed bid to lift the ban on new selective institutions.

In 2015, while he was in charge of the NSN, Timothy told the Telegraph the law preventing new grammar schools was “limiting the number of good schools”, adding: “I do believe in the diversity of the system and choice for parents, and I don’t see why selection couldn’t be a part of that choice.”