Who’s who? Your guide to the new ministerial line-up at the DfE

The remits of the new ministerial team at the Department for Education have been confirmed following Boris Johnson’s post-Brexit reshuffle.

For schools, the new line-up mostly represents business as usual. Gavin Williamson remains as education secretary, and Nick Gibb, the schools minister, is still in the role having survived his latest of many reshuffles.

Here is your guide to the ministers and their responsibilities.


Gavin Williamson, education secretary


Williamson retains the same broad set of responsibilities across the Department for Education.

He is also understood to be keeping a keen eye on the FE and skills brief, which he was very involved with last year.

  • 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


Nick Gibb, schools minister


Gibb’s responsibilities remain broadly the same, with a few small changes.

For example, he now has responsibility for support for raising school standards, previously part of the academies minister’s portfolio, and early education curriculum and teaching quality.

He has also given up responsibility for tackling bullying and alternative provision, both of which are now a job for children’s minister Vicky Ford.

  • Recruitment and retention of teachers and school leaders (including initial teacher training, qualifications and professional development)
  • Supporting a high-quality teaching profession and reducing teacher workload
  • Teaching Regulation Agency
  • Admissions and school transport
  • School revenue funding, including the national funding formula
  • Curriculum and qualifications (including links with Ofqual)
  • Standards and Testing Agency and primary assessment
  • School accountability and inspection (including links with Ofsted)
  • Support for raising school standards
  • School sport
  • Pupil premium
  • Relationships, sex, and health education; and personal, social, health and economic education
  • Behaviour and attendance and exclusions
  • Early education curriculum and teaching quality


Baroness Berridge, academies minister

Baroness Berridge, who has replaced Lord Agnew, retains many of her predecessor’s responsibilities.

She has also officially taken on responsibilities for safeguarding in schools, previously the remit of the children’s minister, and school efficiency and departmental efficiency and commercial, though the latter two were unofficially in Agnew’s remit before.

However, she has given up responsibility for school improvement.

  • Free schools, university technical colleges and studio schools
  • Academies and multi-academy trusts, including governance
  • Faith schools
  • Independent schools
  • Home education and supplementary schools
  • Intervention in underperforming schools, including trust capacity funds
  • School capital investment (including pupil place planning, new school places and school condition)
  • Counter extremism and integration in schools
  • Safeguarding in schools and post-16 settings
  • School efficiency
  • Departmental efficiency and commercial

Vicky Ford, children’s minister

Like previous children’s ministers, Vicky Ford’s portfolio does cover a number of issues important to the schools community.

Her schools-related policy areas include SEND, alternative provision, free school meals and bullying.

  • Children’s social care including system and funding, workforce, child protection, children in care, adoption, care leavers and local authority performance
  • Special educational needs, including high needs funding
  • Early years policy and childcare, including funding, providers, workforce, children’s centres, home learning environment and childcare entitlements
  • Alternative provision
  • Disadvantage and social mobility (including links to the Social Mobility Commission)
  • School food including free school meals
  • Children and young people’s mental health, online safety and preventing bullying in schools
  • Policy to protect against serious violence


Gillian Keegan, apprenticeships and skills minister

pupil premium

Keegan isn’t going to be that involved in schools policy, but she does hold responsibility for careers education, which is a big one for the schools community.

  • Strategy for post-16 education (jointly with Michelle Donelan)
  • Technical education and skills including T Levels and qualifications review
  • Apprenticeships including traineeships
  • Further education workforce
  • Further education provider market including quality and improvement and further education efficiency
  • Adult education, including the National Retraining Scheme and basic skills
  • Institutes of Technology and National Colleges
  • Reducing the number of young people who are not in education, employment or training
  • Careers education, information and guidance including the Careers Enterprise Company


Michelle Donelan, universities minister

opportunity areas

Donelan has very little to do with schools, but she is responsible for the social mobility opportunity areas programme, which isn’t without its fair share of controversy

  • Strategy for post-16 education (jointly with Gillian Keegan)
  • Universities and higher education reform
  • Higher education student finance (including the Student Loans Company)
  • Widening participation in higher education
  • Quality of higher education and the Teaching Excellence Framework
  • International education strategy including education exports international students and technology in education (Edtech)
  • Opportunity Areas programme

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