Justine Greening: 9 facts about the new education secretary

Justine Greening has been announced as the new education secretary, in Theresa May’s first cabinet line-up.

Here is what we know about her:

1. Born in 1969, Justine Greening is 47 years old. The average age of an education secretary is 50.

2. She was born and raised in Rotherham. The only other education secretary born in South Yorkshire was David Blunkett.

3. She is the first education secretary to attend a comprehensive secondary school, Oakwood Comprehensive in Rotherham. (David Blunkett, education secretary from 1998 to 2001, attended an all-ability school for the blind, categorised as a special needs school).

4. A touchy subject of late, but as the role involves children so directly it will be mentioned at times: Justine Greening has no children. This isn’t unusual for education secretaries. Zero is actually the most common number.

5. Greening studied economics at the University of Southampton. She is the first to have studied there, but is joined in her subject choice by two other former education secretaries: Fred Mulley (1975-65) and John MacGregor (1989-90).

6. Her first job was in Morrisons supermarket. No other education secretary is recorded as having worked there, however Margaret Thatcher’s father was a greengrocer and she was raised in a flat above the shop, which she worked in from a young age. (Yes, Thatcher was once an education secretary).

7. She worked as an accountant after university, an unusual role for an education secretary – they are often lawyers – but John MacGregor also worked in banking.

8. Her predecessor, Nicky Morgan, was in role for 731 days. The average is 836. If Greening stays in office for the average number of days she will leave on October 26, 2018.

9. She is the first openly gay education secretary, having announced on twitter the day after the referendum that “I campaigned for Stronger In but sometimes you’re better off out!” before going on to state that she was in a “happy same-sex relationship”.

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  1. Yet another appointment that entirely avoids credentials. It is staggering that we continue to select secretaries of state with ZERO requirements for appropriate experience, expertise or education. As with Gove and Morgan, Greening brings NOTHING to her job that will let her make the right National Education decisions.

    She would not even qualify as a school TA.

    Why do we persist with this farce?

    • It’s staggering that people think you have to have done a job to run a department. If that were the criteria for management positions, no one would be qualified. That’s what the experts are for, to advise. What Greening brings to the job is her intelligence.

      It’s also a shame that our education system produces people with such poor logic as yours Neil.

      • Thanks for your thoughts Dave. Education is particularly counter-intuitive. It is not like running a business. It is touchy feely, it is many things that would elude the kind of linear mind set that succeeds in economics and accountancy.

        You are, however, partly correct of course. The role is one of oversight. But oversight requires understanding. You presume that managers who oversee businesses that they do not understand necessarily succeed. I would suggest that this is not universal.

        Besides, without an understanding for education, what can guide her in her relationships with education experts? How can she make decisions?