Five new Conservative members of the Commons Education Select Committee will be newly elected MPs and include a former secondary teacher and a former chair of a social mobility charity, Tes has been told.
Although an official announcement has still to be made, Tes understands that the new members will be David Johnston OBE (MP for Wantage), David Simmonds CBE (MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner), Tom Hunt (MP for Ipswich), Christian Wakeford (MP for Bury South) and Jonathan Gullis (MP for Stoke-on-Trent North).
Mr Gullis, a former teacher who had to return to work at his Birmingham secondary school on the day after the general election, said his priorities for the committee would include reducing the sizes of large multi-academy trusts to ”give power back to schools” and investigating the effectiveness of alternative provision and the possibility of introducing new grammar schools into deprived areas.
Mr Gullis added: ”There are a number of things to look at, to be quite frank. Obviously the government has pledged a £14 billion injection into the education system, which is sorely needed – and my job, along with my fellow committee members, will be to make sure this ends up in the hands of headteachers and that the money is being spent on pupils."
MPs to join Commons Education Select Committee
A Labour source said the party had also decided on its MPs who would sit on the committee.
They also include two newly-elected MPs: Fleur Anderson, who won the seat in Putney (formerly held by former education secretary Justine Greening) and Apsana Begum, MP for Poplar and Limehouse.
Former shadow education secretary Lucy Powell, MP for Manchester Central, and Ian Mearns, MP for Gateshead, will both return to the committee on which the Labour Party now has four seats, compared with five last year, due to the Conservatives seizing a comfortable Commons majority in the general election.
The role of the committee is to hold the Department for Education to account on areas such as expenditure, administration and policy.
Last week, Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow, was re-elected unopposed as committee chair after no other MPs stood against him.
Mr Johnston, a former chair of the Social Mobility Foundation charity, told Tes: “I'll be looking at whether we are improving life chances for the most disadvantaged pupils. We also need to get the best teachers into the schools that find it difficult to attract teachers.”
Mr Hunt said his particular area of focus would be special educational needs, after having experienced both dyslexia and dyspraxia as a child.
He said: “I really struggled at school but I was really fortunate I got the support I needed, so I turned it around and did pretty well academically. But I’m acutely aware that a lot of pupils don’t get the support they need, so that’s what I’m most passionate about.”
The committee’s press office said the committee had still not been appointed. A spokesman said: “The matter is still very much with the parties at the moment to appoint or elect their members according to their internal processes.
“Once they have done this it would need to go through the committee of selection and be approved by the House."