Universities minister Michelle Donelan has been appointed as the third education secretary for England this academic year.
Donelan was appointed just hours before schools minister Robin Walker resigned, posting his letter of resignation on social media yesterday morning. Walker was appointed to his role in September last year, replacing stalwart minister Nick Gibb. Children’s minister Will Quince also resigned today (Weds July 6)
State-educated Donelan has been MP for Chippenham since 2015 and has served on the Commons Education Select Committee.
She will become the fifth education secretary in less than six years, although her tenure may well be short as Prime Minister Boris Johnson clings onto power following a string of scandals.
Donelan is the third education secretary so far this academic year, with Gavin Williamson sacked in September to be replaced by Zahawi, who served for just nine months.
Donelan has a track record in education posts and has been universities minister since 2020.
Donelan attended The County High School in Leftwich, Cheshire. She then went on to read history and politics at the University of York.
Ms Donelan’s career outside politics was in marketing.
The response to her appointment, after a febrile evening that saw chancellor Rishi Sunak and health secretary Sajid Javid resign from their posts, was lukewarm.
On Twitter, Geoff Barton, general secretary of education leaders’ union ASCL wrote:
And Mary Bousted, National Education Union joint general secretary – imitating the in house poet of political magazine Private Eye – wrote:
Education commentator and education secretaries expert Laura McInerney pointed out that Donelan could become a record-breaker: