Yesterday’s cabinet reshuffle saw the appointment of former DWP Minister Damian Hinds as Secretary of State for Education. He replaces Justine Greening who unexpectedly resigned from Government.
Mr Hinds attended St Ambrose Grammar School in Cheshire, which became an academy in 2012. He then went on to study PPE at Trinity College, Oxford. After graduating, Damian Hinds spent 18 years working in the pubs, brewing and hotel industries in Britain and abroad. After his time working in the hospitality industry he spent five years working as a strategy consultant.
He began his political career in 2010 when he was first elected as the MP for East Hampshire and was re-elected in May 2015 and June 2017. He has been an Assistant Government Whip since July 2014. In 2015, he was appointed Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and was then appointed Minister for Employment in June 2016. Most relevantly, he sat on the Parliamentary Education Committee from 2010-2012 and chaired the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility in 2012.
Social Mobility has been one of Hinds’ key areas of interest. He has expressed in Parliament that he believes the strongest teachers must be encouraged to work in schools which have the highest numbers of disadvantaged children. Furthermore, Mr Hinds has supported closing the attainment gap in early years which aligns with the ‘Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential’ social mobility action plan introduced by Justine Greening. Damien Hinds recognises that the attainment gap begins before children even start school he stated that he believes “one of the most effective interventions would be to attract more highly qualified early-years specialists.”
As the new Education Secretary, he is likely to provide some level of continuity. He has been a consistent supporter of government education policy. Hinds stated the government must be “impatient on behalf of the places where the academies revolution has not happened…There needs, through whatever means, to be a lot more push on that issue in parts of the country where the change has not happened.” In 2014, Damien Hinds called for the government to lift the faith cap which has prevented Catholic schools opening free schools. As the newly appointed Education Secretary he will now be responsible for the outcome of the consultation on lifting this cap.
Mr Hinds took to twitter to announce that he was delighted about his new appointment, which has been described in the media as one of the more significant promotions of the day. As the new Education Secretary he expressed that he is “looking forward to working with great teachers & lecturers in our schools, colleges & universities giving people the opportunities to make the most of their lives.”