Education & Family

Justine Greening appointed new education secretary

Justine Greening Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Justine Greening has already been warned by teachers about school funding problems

Justine Greening has been appointed as education secretary in Theresa May's Cabinet reshuffle.

Ms Greening, who went to school in a Rotherham comprehensive, was previously secretary of state for international development.

She announced last month she was in a same-sex relationship, making her the first openly gay female Cabinet minister.

Her new department is to expand to take responsibility for universities.

Ms Greening, who replaces Nicky Morgan, said she was "looking forward to getting on with the job" when she arrived at the Department for Education.

She attended Oakwood comprehensive school - and along with David Blunkett who went to schools for the blind - becomes one of the few education secretaries to have attended a non-selective state school.

According to the Sutton Trust education charity, she joins a Cabinet with the lowest proportion of privately-educated ministers since Clement Attlee's Labour government of 1945.

Ms Greening studied economics at Southampton University and before entering the House of Commons in 2005 had worked as an accountant.

As well as being responsible for schools, colleges and universities, she becomes the minister for women and equalities.

She will inherit a higher education bill, which could raise tuition fees in England, with a second reading due next week.

The Association of School and College Leaders said that the new education secretary would face the "stark reality" of schools facing "real-terms funding cuts and a teacher recruitment crisis".

"We urgently need greater investment in the education system," said Malcolm Trobe, leader of the head teachers' union.

He also called for no delay in implementing a national funding formula for schools, announced by the previous education secretary.

Kevin Courtney, leader of the National Union of Teachers, said Ms Greening would have to tackle problems with teacher recruitment, excessive working hours and lack of school funding.

"Testing and assessment is in complete disarray," said Mr Courtney.

Russell Hobby, leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, called for the end of the "chaos and confusion" of this year's controversial primary school Sats tests.

He told the new education secretary that the "government has not won the argument on academies" and that good and outstanding schools should be allowed to remain part of their local authority if they chose.

Liberal Democrat education spokesman, John Pugh, called on Ms Greening to "put a stop to damaging proposals to scrap Qualified Teacher Status and parent governors, as well as plans to vastly increase numbers of academies".

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