Gavin Williamson has been named as the new education secretary by prime minister Boris Johnson.
The news comes after Damian Hinds this afternoon left the DfE and returned to the backbenches, ending a tenure of 18 months.
His successor is the fifth education secretary in the space of just over five years.
Michael Gove was demoted in July 2014, and was followed by Nicky Morgan, Justine Greening and Mr Hinds.
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Mr Williamson's wife Joanne is a former primary school teacher.
He was chief whip under Theresa May, before being promoted to defence secretary in November 2017.
He was sacked in May following a leak from the National Security Council. In a letter, Ms May said an investigation found “compelling evidence suggesting your responsibility for the unauthorised disclosure”, and added: “No other credible version of events to explain this leak has been identified.”
Mr Williamson strenuously denied the allegation.
What to say to this ... god help our children https://t.co/labyPArfeg— Lucy Powell MP (@LucyMPowell) July 24, 2019
The South Staffordshire MP went to Raincliffe Comprehensive School in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, before attending Scarborough Sixth Form College. He studied social sciences at the University of Bradford.
After graduating, he started a career in manufacturing, and became managing director of an architectural design firm, which his website says “has been involved in the design of many schools, public sector and commercial buildings”.
The website says Mr Williamson “had a strong interest in education issues” during a period as a county councillor, and has served as a school governor.
Hey congrats @GavinWilliamson I look forward to educating you 😛— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) July 24, 2019
Mr Johnson said his government would "level up" per-pupil funding for primary and secondary schools as one of his priorities on the steps of Downing Street today. The new prime minister has promised to increase funding for schools by £4.6 billion by 2022-23.
As well as funding pressures, issues facing the new education secretary include the continuing teacher recruitment and retention crisis, teacher workload, the SEND system and campaigns objecting to primary schools teaching about same-sex relationships.
Congratulations to @GavinWilliamson on being appointed the new Education Secretary. We look forward to working with you to put education reform at the heart of the government agenda!— New Schools Network (@theNSN) July 24, 2019
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, has called on the new administration to provide a "brighter and more optimistic vision for education by improving support for struggling schools, easing the grinding pressure of exams and accountability, and boosting teacher recruitment and retention".
“Schools and colleges do a fantastic job despite very challenging circumstances, but they need more resources and vision from the government,” he said.
And so @GavinWilliamson is new Education Secretary. All of us at @ASCL_UK look forward to working with him. And there's a big agenda - eg sort funding (as the new PM promised on the steps of No 10 today) and help tackle the recruitment & retention crisis: https://t.co/vZ5uwjCNhb pic.twitter.com/dIO6oMehd1— Geoff Barton (@RealGeoffBarton) July 24, 2019