Nick Gibb will stand down as schools minister at the impending reshuffle and as an MP at the next election.
Posting on X this morning, the long-serving minister said he had been “discussing taking up a diplomatic role after the general election”. As a result he had “asked the Prime Minister if I can step down from the government at the reshuffle and he has agreed”.
A reshuffle is expected today after the prime minister sacked home secretary Suella Braverman.
Gibb has been schools minister for most of the last 13 years, serving on three separate occasions. He has been at the heart of Conservative education policymaking since 2005.
He said it had been a “privilege to serve as schools minister for four prime ministers”.
“I campaigned for Rishi last Summer and I remain an enthusiastic supporter of the Prime Minister’s leadership.
‘Proud of my 10 years as a minister’
“I am proud that over my 10 years as a minister standards in schools have risen. England is 4th in the world in reading as a result of the phonics reforms and we are rising internationally for maths and English. We have transformed the curriculum so that it is knowledge rich.”
He said the multiplication test for 9 year olds “means more children know their tables than ever before”.
“The new more rigorous maths GCSE means better preparation for A level, now the most popular A level choice.
In his resignation letter, Gibb said he had “hugely enjoyed my ten years as schools minister, helping to ensure that education policy is driven by the evidence and the most effective ways of teaching children”.
“Although I love being schools minister, and my passion for ensuring that every child gets the best possible education will remain with me until my dying day, I have also decided that now is the right time for me to step down as a minister and the prime minister has agreed that I can do so at the next reshuffle.
“I shall miss so much of my work, both as a minister who (oddly I am told) loves the incessant demands of policy papers that fill the red boxes and as a member of parliament and the constituents who I have enjoyed serving.”
Tributes to ‘one of history’s best schools ministers’
Education secretary paid tribute to her departing colleague. In a letter she said he had “dedicated more than a decade of your life as minister for schools and the reform you’ve brought in have changed millions of children’s lives for the better”.
“Your time in office, working with school leaders and teachers, has transformed the entire school system with a relentless drive to improve standards and outcomes for the next generation.”
Keegan added that “many teachers up and down the country will be sad to see you go”.
“A newspaper column once described you as the ‘unsung hero’ of our children, but I hope that today we can all take a moment to give you the recognition that you deserve.”
Former childrens minister Claire Coutinho said Gibb will be “remembered as one of history’s best schools ministers”.
Union boss criticises ‘centraliser’ Gibb
But Daniel Kebede, the leader of the National Education Union, said Gibb had presided over a period “in which the education system in England has been battered from pillar to post”.
“Teacher recruitment and retention are now at breaking point. School buildings are crumbling. All the problems facing the educational system have deepened during the period in which Gibb has presided over schools.”
He described Gibb as “a centraliser” who had “sought to micro-manage the teacher education curriculum” and “imposed on schools his preferred method for the teaching of reading”.
The minister is also “deeply implicated in the failure” to attract and retain sufficient teachers, he added.
“There needs to be a fundamental change in the approach and attitude of the prime minister towards the future of education in this country and a far more genuine and open-minded engagement by the new schools minister with the deep and instructive expertise of school leaders and education staff.”