Who is Justine Greening? Six facts about the new education secretary

The former accountant described by one source as 'a spreadsheet person' has been appointed to the DfE following the sacking of Nicky Morgan this morning

Richard Vaughan

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Justine Greening, the new education secretary, is moving to the Department for Education from the Department for International Development.

Here we set out the key facts about the new education secretary and what we might be able to expect from her:


1. She breaks the mould of education secretary

Ms Greening, who was born in Rotherham, attended Oakwood Comprehensive School in the South Yorkshire town. Her father was a steel worker. She is also openly gay, having come out at London's Pride festival last month. Her partner is a university lecturer.

2. She did not attend Oxford

Unlike her two predecessors, Michael Gove and Nicky Morgan, she did not go to the University Oxford. She studied economics at the University of Southampton before being elected as the MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields in May 2005.

3. She could have a bigger brief than her predecessors

Reports suggest that Ms Greening, who already covers the additional brief of women and equalities, will also take over an expanded brief including higher education and skills. This will add further complications to her already difficult role.

4. She faces a tricky time with the funding formula

As education secretary, she will be expected to oversee the introduction of the new national funding formula. But in doing so she is likely to get a rough ride from schools in her own back yard. Ms Greening’s constituency is in Wandsworth, where schools, according to the F40 campaign group, would stand to lose around 3.7 per cent of their budgets. Her professional background in accountancy could come in useful for this aspect of her brief.

5. She is a big backer of girls’ education

She has been a major advocate for girls’ education in her role as international development secretary. Last month, she staged a Girls’ Education Forum in a bid to bring global attention to the issue.

6. She is a 'spreadsheet person'

According to those who worked close to her during her international development days, Ms Greening is a "pragmatist". Rather than being an idealogue her and her "agenda is about what works". As a former accountant her work is about "efficiency and effectiveness" rather than a "big vision piece". One source described her as a "spreadsheet person".


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Richard Vaughan

Richard has been writing about politics, policy and technology in education for nearly five years after joining TES in 2008. He joined TES from the building press having been a reporter and then later news editor at the Architects’ Journal. Before then he studied at Cardiff University’s school of journalism. Richard can be found tweeting at @richardvaughan1

Find me on Twitter @RichardVaughan1

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