New DfE Ministerial Responsibilities Announced

30th September 2022

This week, Prime Minister Liz Truss’ announced the new Education ministerial portfolios and responsibilities. As well as Secretary of State Kit Malthouse, the following portfolios were confirmed: Minister for Schools and Childhood Kelly Tolhurst; Minister of School Standards Jonathan Gullis; Minister of Skills Andrea Jenkyns; and Minister for the School and College System Baroness Barran MBE.

The responsibilities of each title have slightly changed to reflect the DfE having one less minister than previously.

Secretary of State – Kit Malthouse

Malthouse is an alumni of Newcastle University, where he studied Politics and Economics. He was born and raised in Liverpool. His most recent role was as Minister of State (Minister for Crime and Policing) at the Home Office and Ministry of Justice. He is the fifth Education Secretary of 2022!

In his new role, Kit will be responsible for:

early years
children’s social care
teacher quality, recruitment and retention
the school curriculum
school improvement
academies and free schools
further education
apprenticeships and skills
higher education
Minister for Schools and Childhood – Kelly Tolhurst

This position, given to Kelly Tolhurst MP, has combined both Schools and Childhood, which previously was split between two different ministers. Tolhurst is the tenth minister within a period of ten years to be responsible for Early Years. On top of that, her portfolio covers many different sectors:

strategy for schools, including standards and selection
qualifications (including links with Ofqual)
curriculum including relationships, sex, and health education and personal, social, health and economic education
admissions and school transport
early years and childcare
children’s social care
children in care, children in need, child protection, adoption and care leavers
disadvantaged and vulnerable children
families, including family hubs and early childhood support
special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), including high needs funding
alternative provision
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
Minister of School Standards – Jonathan Gullis

Jonathan Gullis MP is now responsible for subjects such as NTP. In the past, he has spoken out against his childhood of bullying and talked openly about his own mental ill health during his school days. Prior to his career in politics, Gullis worked as a Humanities teacher and a Secondary Head Teacher and was also a school trade union representative for the NASUWT.

He has received some negative media attention due to some controversial comments he has made previously about teachers. Recently Gullis has been commenting on his desire to scrap the ban on new grammar schools, which seems to be underway with Liz Truss’ request for Kit Malthouse to look at which areas of England would like to open new grammar schools.

Gullis will be responsible for:

school accountability and inspection (including links with Ofsted)
Standards and Testing Agency and primary assessment
supporting a high-quality teaching profession including professional development
supporting recruitment and retention of teachers and school leaders including initial teacher training
Teaching Regulation Agency
National Tutoring Programme
Education Investment Areas (jointly with Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for the School and College System))
school revenue funding, including the national funding formula for schools
school efficiency and commercial policy
pupil premium
behaviour, attendance and exclusions
school sport
digital strategy and technology in education (EdTech)
Minister of Skills – Andrea Jenkyns

Andrea Jenkyns has been reappointed as a minister for the DfE. She previously served as  Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Skills, Further and Higher Education) from early July 2022. The minister received some controversy back in July when footage went viral of her sticking up the middle finger to Downing Street protestors.

Jenkyn’s new responsibilities include:

strategy for post-16 education
T Levels
qualifications reviews (levels 3 and below)
higher technical education (levels 4 and 5)
apprenticeships and traineeships
funding for education and training for 16 to 19 year olds
further education workforce and funding
Institutes of Technology
local skills improvement plans and Local Skills Improvement Fund
adult education, including basic skills, the National Skills Fund and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund
higher education quality
student experience and widening participation in higher education
student finance and the Lifelong Loan Entitlement (including the Student Loans Company)
international education strategy and the Turing Scheme
Minister for the School and College System – Baroness Barran MBE

Baroness Barran MBE was appointed on September 20.  However, she has been in the DfE since 2021 when she was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for the School System). Barran has been at the helm of the Schools Bill, which is now under review.

The minister’s responsibilities include:

academies and multi-academy trusts
free schools and university technical colleges
faith schools
independent schools
home education and supplementary schools
intervention in underperforming schools and school improvement
school governance
school capital investment (including pupil place planning)
Education Investment Areas (jointly with Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for the School Standards))
education provision and outcomes for 16 to 19 year olds
college governance and accountability
intervention and financial oversight of further education colleges
careers education, information and guidance including the Careers and Enterprise Company
reducing the number of young people who are not in education, employment or training
safeguarding in schools and post-16 settings
counter extremism in schools and post-16 settings
departmental efficiency and commercial policy
Next steps and levelling up

Now that the full responsibilities have been announced, the picture of Education under Liz Truss is beginning to come together.

In the Summer, Schools North East sent a joint letter to parliament with The Northern Powerhouse Partnership and SHINE urging the government to consider the regional context when creating policy.

Chris Zarraga, Director of Schools North East, commented:

“Now that the new roles and responsibilities have been outlined by the DfE we hope to see the new Education minister line up to address the real problems in our region. We urge for them to consider that locally-led solutions are key in tackling education challenges. Education policy is not effective when it only looks at a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. With a smaller ministerial team, we hope that the government will not forget to prioritise Education in areas like the North East.

You can not ‘level up’ an area if you ignore the needs of its young people. We need to support our students from Early Years right through to Higher Education. There is currently a funding and a recruitment and retention crisis in Education and it must be addressed by the government.”

To read our letter to parliament, click here:

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