Ministerial portfolios: Who’ll be doing what in the new DfE team

We finally know what each of the six ministers will be doing

We finally know what each of the six ministers will be doing

1 Oct 2021, 15:00

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The Department for Education (DfE) has quietly updated the responsibilities of its new ministerial team.

While they remain largely similar, there are some notable changes – with social mobility and reducing teacher workload no longer explicitly mentioned.

“Reducing teacher workload” is also no longer listed among schools minister Robin Walker’s remit.

But officials stressed it had not been de-prioritised and instead fell under his continued role of “supporting a high-quality teaching profession”.

Meanwhile the academies minister Baroness Barran is no longer responsible for “school efficiency”, despite a cost-cutting crusade being what Lord Agnew was best known for when he held the post until last year. It now sits under Walker’s responsibilities.

The children’s minister’s role under newly-appointed Will Quince sees ‘disadvantage and social mobility’ being ditched for “disadvantage and vulnerable children”. It comes after oversight of the government’s social mobility commission was transferred from the DfE to the Cabinet Office earlier this year.

New education secretary Nadhim Zahawi’s remit remains unchanged from his predecessor.

Nadhim Zahawi, education secretary


Early years

Children’s social care

Teacher recruitment and retention

The school curriculum

School improvement

Academies and free schools

Further education

Apprenticeships and skills

Higher education

Oversight of the departmental coronavirus (covid-19) response

Robin Walker, schools minister

Supporting a high-quality teaching profession including qualifications and professional development

Supporting recruitment and retention of teachers and school leaders including initial teacher training

Teaching regulation agency

Qualifications (including links with ofqual)

Curriculum including relationships, sex, and health education; and personal, social, health and economic education

Standards and testing agency and primary assessment

School accountability and inspection (including links with ofsted)

Support for raising school standards

School revenue funding, including the national funding formula for schools

School efficiency

Pupil premium

Behaviour, attendance and exclusions

Digital strategy and technology in education (edtech)

Coronavirus (covid-19) response for schools

Baroness Barran, academies minister

Academies and multi-academy trusts

Free schools, university technical colleges and studio schools

Faith schools

Independent schools

Home education and supplementary schools

Intervention in underperforming schools

School capital investment (including pupil place planning, new school places and school condition)

Admissions and school transport

Safeguarding in schools and post-16 settings

Counter extremism and integration in schools and post-16 settings

Departmental efficiency and commercial

Will Quince, children’s minister

Children’s social care


Children in care, children in need, child protection, adoption and care leavers

Early years

Special educational needs, including high needs funding

Alternative provision

Disadvantage and vulnerable children

School food including free school meals

School sport

Children and young people’s mental health, online safety and preventing bullying in schools

Policy to protect against serious violence

Opportunity areas programme and opportunity north east programme

Coronavirus (covid-19) response for children’s services and childcare

Alex Burghart, apprenticeships and skills minister*

T levels and qualifications reviews (levels 3 and below)

Careers education, information and guidance including the careers and enterprise company

Reducing the number of young people who are not in education, employment or training

Student experience and widening participation in higher education

International education strategy including education exports and international students

Michelle Donelan, universities minister*

Strategy for post-16 education

*only responsibilities related to schools listed

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