Cabinet reshuffle

Reshuffle: Nick Gibb sacked as schools minister

DfE stalwart surprise casualty in Boris Johnson's 'build back better' reshuffle

DfE stalwart surprise casualty in Boris Johnson's 'build back better' reshuffle

15 Sep 2021, 21:05

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Long-serving schools minister Nick Gibb has been sacked, bringing to an end his nine-year tenure in the department.

Gibb tweeted this evening it had “been a privilege to play a part in helping improve the life chances of the next generation”, adding he was “sad” to be leaving.

Schools Week understands Gibb was sacked.

Serving as schools minister for the most of the last ten years, Gibb’s departure was unexpected.

He has a genuine desire for excellence across state education and was, in the main, supportive of those trying to deliver it

He’s been a hugely influential figure in the Conservative government’s education reforms, and was widely expected to continue in the role – especially after his boss Gavin Williamson was axed earlier today.

Gibb tweeted that Nadhim Zahawi, Williamson’s replacement, will “do a superb job in building on the reforms of the last ten years”.

Committee chair praises outgoing minister

Education committee chair Robert Halfon tweeted of Gibb: “You are authentic and a man of conviction and did much to improve standards, especially literacy.”

Jon Yates, who was Damian Hinds’ special adviser during his time as education secretary, said it was a “huge honour to work alongside Nick… Few ministers ever made as much difference as he had”.

Gibb was a divisive figure in the sector. While regarded as somewhat of a hero to fans of traditional education methods, he widely disliked by progressives.

But headteacher Michael Tidd said “while some might disagree with some of his views… he’ll be a significant loss from the department.”

Gibb was a man who “knew his brief and was passionate about it in a way that few politicians are,” Tidd added.

“He has a genuine desire for excellence across state education and was, in the main, supportive of those trying to deliver it.

Gibb worked under five education secretaries

Gibb will be remembered for his relentless championing of phonics, overseeing curriculum reforms and introducing tougher exams.

His ability to remain in post through numerous reshuffles had also become a running joke in the sector.

Gibb had outlasted five education secretaries after Williamson’s departure earlier today, as well as two general elections.

Gibb was appointed school standards minister by David Cameron in 2010, before being sacked two years later.

But he was brought back as school reform minister in 2014 and has served as schools minister since 2015.

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