Schools minister went on £10k trip to ‘reinforce relationships’ with Australia and Singapore

The schools minister Nick Gibb went on a week-long trip to Australia and Singapore to “reinforce” Britain’s relationship with the two countries in July, at a cost of more than £10,000, government documents reveal.

A register of ministerial gifts, hospitality, travel and meetings shows that Gibb was flown to the two countries between July 7 and 14.

The trip was arranged to “reinforce relationship (sic) with countries as part of the plan for a global Britain”, the document says.

He was also there to “share best practice and help raise educational standards”. This included setting out education reform priorities, including a knowledge-rich curriculum and phonics, the register reveals.

It is not known whether the trip was paid for by the Department for Education or a third party.

A spokesperson for the DfE said: “Minister Gibb was invited to Australia by the Australian government to participate in their work on phonics and share best practice on improving literacy rates.

“This was an important part of our ambition to ensure education is at the heart of our plan for a global Britain.”

The register also reveals that, during his time as a minister, Lord Nash met with retailer Dunelm to discuss the possibility of the company sponsoring academies.

Nash stood down last month, but in June, he met the furniture giant to talk about “potential academy sponsorship”.

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