Former King’s College School pupil Nadhim Zahawi has been named as education secretary.
Zahawi, 54, an entrepreneur who was previously working as vaccines minister as part of the Covid response, will take the helm of the DfE after the unpopular Gavin Williamson was sacked yesterday.
Zahawi, the co-founder of polling company YouGov, already has some experience in education, previously serving as minister for children and families.
The MP for Stratford-upon-Avon, was nine when his family fled Iraq, and he was educated at Ibstock Place School and King’s College School in Wimbledon. His appointment was welcomed by Tory MPs and Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the foreign affairs committee, tweeted: “What can 9-year-old migrants who don’t speak English achieve in the UK? Amazing things. Here’s one who became education secretary.”
The arrival of Mr Zahawi is also marked by the departure of DfE stalwart and school standards minister Nick Gibb, who is, according to Schools Week, understood to have been sacked after 9 years in post.
Gibb tweeted last night that 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.
Nick Gibb has been a highly influential figure in the education reforms of the past decade and had been expected to continue in the role.
Mr Zahawi’s in-tray in his new post will be full to bursting as education struggles to recover from the huge challenges of coronavirus, disruptions to the exam system and a host of issues in higher education.