Nadhim Zahawi: Education is a crucial part of our levelling up agenda so it’s an


Nadhim Zahawi has been confirmed as the new Education Secretary in today’s (15 Sept) cabinet reshuffle.

Nadhim will be taking over from Gavin Williamson who has moved in today’s reshuffle. Nadhim is Member of Parliament for Stratford-on-Avon, and was previously Minister for Business & Industry and COVID Vaccine Deployment. He was also appointed as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care on 28 November 2020.

He was previously Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education from 9 January 2018 to 26 July 2019.

Nadhim was elected as Conservative MP for Stratford-on-Avon in May 2010.

Nadhim Zahawi, the new Secretary of State for Education

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said:

“Education is a crucial part of our levelling up agenda so it’s an honour to be back at the Department for Education as Secretary of State.

“Children and young people have had a tough time during this pandemic and I’ll be listening to them and their families as we accelerate our work to build back better and fairer.

“From my own experience, I know what a beacon of opportunity this country can be and I want all children, young people and adults to have access to a brilliant education, the right qualifications and opportunities to secure good jobs. That’s both vital for them and also our economy and is more important now than ever before.

“I can’t wait to get started, working with the amazing teachers and staff in our nurseries, schools, colleges and universities as well as employers and businesses.”

Zahawi was privately educated at Ibstock Place School and then at King’s College School, an independent school in Wimbledon, London, followed by University College London, where he studied Chemical Engineering.

Clarifying his ambitions for his new role, in an open letter to education and care professionals, Nadhim has promised:

“With Your Help, We Are Going To Transform The Lives Of The Most Vulnerable And Disadvantaged.”

Sector Reaction to Nadhim Zahawi’s appointment as Education Secretary 

Paul Whiteman 100x100Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT said:

“We welcome Nadim Zahawi to the post of Secretary of State for Education.

“Earlier this year, the Prime Minister declared that education was his biggest priority in the wake of the pandemic. The crucial task of translating the government’s rhetoric on education into reality now sits with the new Secretary of State.

“Alongside taking proactive measures to minimise disruption to education this winter, one of the most pressing tasks facing Mr Zahawi will be to ensure that the government now fulfils its promise to deliver a properly funded recovery package so that every pupil in the country receives the support they need and deserve. With the comprehensive spending review only weeks away, there really is no time to waste.

“As always, NAHT stands ready to work with the new Secretary of State and his department to ensure that every child receives the very best education possible.”

Discussing priorities for new Education Secretary and his team, Paul Whiteman, said:

“There is a long list of pressing matters for the new Secretary of State to attend to but none is more important than making sure schools are able to deliver a successful recovery for all pupils, following so many months out of the classroom.

“The Prime Minister’s promise that no child would be left behind due to learning-lost during the pandemic now needs to be delivered. Schools will need a radically more ambitious package of investment from the Treasury in order to get the job done.

“Convincing the Chancellor is the key. And whilst there will be a many different conflicting priorities at the Treasury this autumn, the case must be made that funding educational recovery is an investment in this country’s future, not simply another drain on the nation’s finances.

“The best investment the government can make right now is in the country’s future citizens and workforce. The Education Secretary must quickly turn rhetoric into investment and into action. With the Comprehensive Spending Review scheduled for next month, there is absolutely no time to waste.”

david hughes 100 x100In response to today’s cabinet reshuffle, Chief Executive of Association of Colleges, David Hughes said: 

“As the Secretary of State for Education during the most disrupted time in teaching and learning since the Second World War, it was always going to be a bumpy ride for Gavin Williamson. Despite that, he helped convince the Prime Minister and Chancellor that post-16 education and skills should be a priority. Colleges have a vital role in covid recovery, the new economy, levelling up and business success for the future.

“I have worked before with Nadhim Zahawi on apprenticeships and SEND and I congratulate him on becoming Education Secretary. I’m confident that he will continue the focus and commitment to further education and skills that has had a profound impact on policy-making in FE and begun to reshape the narrative around colleges, and those who study and work in them.

“Nadhim Zahawi knows the college sector well and I absolutely expect that he will pick up the baton and continue to champion colleges and their role in recovering from the pandemic and the levelling up agenda. With the Spending Review imminent, it’s imperative the new Education Secretary appreciates the need for investment in colleges to be able to deliver on the government’s agenda. Beyond that, the ongoing Skills and Post-16 Education Bill will also provide a key opportunity to help colleges deliver even better learning opportunities across the country.” 

Stephen Evans Dec 2018 100x100Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of Learning and Work said:

“Congratulations to Nadhim Zahawi on being appointed Education Secretary. With a long list of issues and a spending review just a few weeks away, he’ll need to hit the ground running. I hope that he’ll work closely with the DWP and other Departments to implement an Opportunity Guarantee so all young people are offered a job, training place or apprenticeship.

“I hope too that he’ll be focused on promoting lifelong learning, after the catastrophic declines of the last decade. To do that he’ll need to succeed in negotiations with the Treasury, but also think creatively about how we reform the apprenticeship levy, engage adults in learning, support career change, and so much more. I think his commitment to opportunity and apprenticeships is clear from his previous work, he’s in a great job to make a real difference and we wish him well.”

Jane Hickie 20Dec 100x100Association of Employment and Learning Providers chief executive Jane Hickie said

“Nadhim Zahawi has a strong reputation for competence and delivery which is just what we need in the DfE when skills are so important to driving the economic recovery.  We expect him to be in lockstep with the Chancellor in continuing the progress made under the Plan for Jobs where apprenticeships and traineeships play a vital role.

“In his previous roles as apprenticeship adviser and early years minister, the new Secretary of State demonstrated a clear appreciation of the importance of skills training and he will know that the current post-16 education reforms can only be properly delivered by the DfE using all types of providers to engage with employers and learners across the country in line with the levelling up agenda.”  

kirstie donnelly 100x100Kirstie Donnelly, Chief Executive of City & Guilds group said:

“We welcome the appointment of Nadhim Zahawi as education secretary as it’s refreshing to have a Secretary of State who has…


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