Nick Gibb - champion of phonics and Spag tests - stays at DfE

School standards minister was first appointed to an education role in 2005

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Long-serving education minister Nick Gibb has kept his job at the DfE as Theresa May reshuffles the junior ranks of her government.

His reappointment represents an element of continuity as new secretary of state Damian Hinds begins his first day in Sanctuary Buildings.

With school standards expected to be a key element of Theresa May’s new year relaunch, Mr Gibb is likely to have an important role.


Delighted to continue at the DfE. Thanks to teachers and the Government’s reforms, standards are rising: 154,000 more 6-year-olds on track in reading this year; 1.9 million more pupils in good or outstanding schools; and double or triple science GCSE entries up from 63% to 91%.

— Nick Gibb (@NickGibbUK) January 9, 2018


Mr Gibb's stock is high in Conservative circles after last month's Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (Pirls) rankings put England joint-8th in the world for 10-year-olds’ reading – up from 11th in 2011.

Many saw this as a vindication of his evangelical support of synthetic phonics.

Mr Gibb has been involved in education policy since David Cameron appointed him shadow schools minister in 2005.

He joined the Department for Education in 2010 under Michael Gove, promoting the Spag tests and harder Sats.

David Cameron sacked him in 2012, but he returned to government two years later when Michael Gove left the DfE, since when he has survived a number of reshuffles.

Last year, the equalities brief was added to Mr Gibb's portfolio.

Earlier today, Robert Goodwill was sacked as minster for Send, early years and free school meals.

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