Kemi Badenoch: Six facts about new children’s minister

What you need to know about the minister responsible for SEND, disadvantaged children and social mobility

Kemi Badenoch.

Kemi Badenoch has been appointed children and families minister at the Department for Education.

And it was announced on 30 July that she will also support new education secretary Gavin Williamson with the skills brief.

The Saffron Walden MP is a keen Brexit supporter and initially supported Michael Gove in the Conservative leadership race.


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And before becoming a Tory MP in 2017, she was a member of the London Assembly, where her stint included the tail-end of Boris Johnson’s tenure as mayor of London.

Here are six key facts about the new minister:

  1. She was born in Wimbledon, grew up in Nigeria, where she experienced “living without electricity and doing my homework by candlelight”, and briefly lived in the United States. She made the UK her home at the age of 16, doing her A levels part time at an FE college in London and working part-time at McDonalds to help support herself.
  2. Ms Badenoch was an engineering apprentice before studying the subject at the University of Sussex, and is a member of the British Computer Society and the Women’s Engineering Society. She also studied law at Birkbeck, University of London. She has also worked as a maths tutor, a systems analyst and digital director at the Spectator.
  3. She has been both a primary and secondary school governor, holding the role at St Thomas the Apostle College, a Catholic secondary school in Southwark, south London, and Jubilee Primary School, in Lambeth, south London.
  4. Ms Badenoch has spoken about school funding in the House of Commons. In a speech in April, she highlighted a school in her constituency suffering teacher shortages, relying on parental donations, and cutting school bus services. She has also raised concerns about the effect of universities giving pupils unconditional offers.
  5. On the day Boris Johnson became prime minister, she tabled a question to the education secretary about a key Boris Johnson campaign pledge, asking “what plans he has to change regulations relating to schools so that they receive national funding formula per pupil de minimis levels in full”. Her only previous education-related written question was about student loans.
  6. The minister is a rising star in the Conservative Party, being chosen to introduce Theresa May at the party’s annual conference in 2017, and later that year being put in charge of selecting candidates for the 2022 general election.

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