Education will be “at the very heart” of the new government, incoming education secretary Gavin Williamson has said.
Mr Williamson, who was appointed last night in prime minister Boris Johnson’s wide ranging cabinet reshuffle, was speaking to his local newspaper, the Express & Star.
He told the paper: "It is a massive privilege to be doing such an amazing role in education.
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"It's something that is vital to the future of our country. It is amazing responsibility of trying to make sure we get the very best for everyone in education.
"It is clear to all that the prime minister sees education as being at the very heart of what the government does. To be in this role and to be able to be part of delivering that agenda is something that really excites me."
He said his priority was to “drive up standards” and added: "Children only have one chance in education, I want to make sure that chance works for them.
He went on: "Education has always been a massive passion of mine, from the time I first became a school governor to serving on the education committee when I was a county councillor, to having a lot of family who work in education, it has always been something close to my heart.
"I hope I can do a good service to make sure the children who are going through our schools, colleges and universities get the very best."
Mr Williamson 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 denied the allegation.
He is only the second education secretary to be educated at a comprehensive following Justine Greening, and his wife is a former primary school teacher.