Secretary of State for Education
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg
Official portrait of Gillian Keegan MP.jpg
Incumbent
Gillian Keegan

since 25 October 2022
Department for Education
StyleEducation Secretary
(informal)
The Right Honourable
(UK and the Commonwealth)
StatusSecretary of state
Minister of the Crown
Member ofCabinet
Privy Council
Reports toThe Prime Minister
SeatWestminster
AppointerThe Crown
on advice of the Prime Minister
Term lengthAt His Majesty's pleasure
Formation10 April 1992
First holderWilliam Cowper-Temple
as Committee of the Council on Education (5 February 1857)
John Patten
as Secretary of State for Education
Websitewww.gov.uk

The secretary of state for education, also referred to as the education secretary, is a secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, responsible for the work of the Department for Education.[1] The incumbent is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom, 14th in the ministerial ranking.[2]

The office holder works alongside the other Education ministers. The corresponding shadow minister is the Shadow Secretary of State for Education, and the work of the Secretary of State is also scrutinised by the Education Select Committee.[3]

The current education secretary is Gillian Keegan.

Responsibilities

Corresponding to what is generally known as an education minister in many other countries, the education secretary's remit is concerned primarily with England. This includes:

History

A committee of the Privy Council was appointed in 1839 to supervise the distribution of certain government grants in the education field.[5] The members of the committee were the Lord President of the Council, the Secretaries of State, the First Lord of the Treasury, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. From 1857 a vice-president was appointed who took responsibility for policy.

On 1 April 1900, the Board of Education Act 1899 abolished the committee and instituted a new board, headed by a president. The members were initially very similar to the old committee and the president of the board was the Lord President of the council; however, from 1902 this ceased to be the case and the president of the board was appointed separately (although the Marquess of Londonderry happened to hold both jobs from 1903 to 1905).

The Education Act 1944 replaced the Board of Education with a new Ministry of Education.

The position of Secretary of State for Education and Science was created in 1964 with the merger of the offices of Minister of Education and the Minister of Science. The postholder oversaw the Department of Education and Science.

From June 1970 to March 1974, this post was held by future prime minister Margaret Thatcher.[6]

In 1992, the responsibility for science was transferred to Cabinet Office's Office of Public Service, and the department was renamed Department of Education. In 1995 the department merged with the Department of Employment to become the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) and in 2001 the employment functions were transferred to a newly created Department for Work and Pensions, with the DfEE becoming the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). In 2007 under Gordon Brown's new premiership, the DfES was split into two new departments; the Department for Children, Schools and Families, and a Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, under two new secretaries of state.

The ministerial office of the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills was, in late 2009, amalgamated into the new ministerial office of the resurgent politician Peter Mandelson, made a peer and given the title Lord Mandelson as the newly created Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills – itself an amalgamation of the responsibilities of the Secretaries of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and Innovation, Universities and Skills. The Secretary of State has remit over higher education policy as well as British business and enterprise.

From 14 July 2016 to 8 January 2018 the post was held by Justine Greening, as her predecessor, Nicky Morgan, was sacked by Theresa May. Greening resigned after rejecting a reshuffle to the Department for Work and Pensions.[7]

On 7 July 2022, Michelle Donelan became the shortest-serving cabinet member in British history, when she resigned as Education Secretary 35 hours after being appointed.[8]

List of office holders

Vice-President of the Committee of the Council on Education (1857–1902)

Colour key (for political parties):
  Whig   Conservative   Liberal

Vice-President of the Committee Term of office Party Prime Minister
William Cowper-Temple, Lock & Whitfield woodburytype, 1876-85.jpg
William Cowper 5 February 1857 21 February 1858 Whig Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston
Charles Bowyer Adderley, Lord Norton.jpg
Charles Adderley 12 March 1858 11 June 1859 Conservative Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby
Robert Lowe, 1st Viscount Sherbrooke by George Frederic Watts.jpg
Robert Lowe 24 June 1859 26 April 1864
(resigned)
Liberal Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston
Henry Bruce, 1st Baron Aberdare NPG.jpg
Henry Bruce 26 April 1864 26 June 1866 Liberal
John Russell, 1st Earl Russell
Henry Lowry-Corry.jpg
Henry Lowry-Corry 26 June 1866 19 March 1867 Conservative Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby
Lord Robert Montagu, Silvy.jpg
Lord Robert Montagu 19 March 1867 1 December 1868 Conservative
Benjamin Disraeli
William Edward Forster by Henry Tanworth Wells.jpg
William Edward Forster 9 December 1868 17 February 1874 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
DFS Ryder 3rd Earl of Harrowby, Lock & Whitfield.jpg
Viscount Sandon 2 March 1874 4 April 1878 Conservative Benjamin Disraeli
Lord George Hamilton.JPG
Lord George Hamilton 4 April 1878 21 April 1880 Conservative
Anthony Mundella.JPG
A. J. Mundella 3 May 1880 9 June 1885 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Edward Stanhope.jpg
Edward Stanhope 24 June 1885 17 September 1885 Conservative Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Knutsford1.JPG
Henry Holland, 1st Viscount Knutsford 17 September 1885 28 January 1886 Conservative
Lyon Playfair.jpg
Lyon Playfair, 1st Baron Playfair 13 February 1886 20 July 1886 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Knutsford1.JPG
Henry Holland 3 August 1886 25 January 1887 Conservative Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
William Hart Dyke by George W Baldry.jpg
William Hart Dyke 25 January 1887 11 August 1892 Conservative
AHD Acland.png
Arthur Dyke Acland 25 August 1892 21 June 1895 Liberal William Ewart Gladstone
Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery
John Eldon Gorst.jpg
John Eldon Gorst 4 July 1895 8 August 1902 Conservative Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
(Unionist Coalition)

President of the Board of Education (1900–1944)

Colour key (for political parties):
  Liberal Unionist   Conservative   Liberal   Labour   National Labour

President of the Board Term of office Party Prime Minister
Picture of Spencer Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire.jpg
Spencer Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire
(also Lord President of the Council)
3 March 1900[9] 8 August 1902 Liberal Unionist Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
(Unionist Coalition)
Lord Londonderry, 6th Marquess.jpg
Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 6th Marquess of Londonderry
(also Lord President of the Council)
11 August 1902 4 December 1905 Conservative Arthur Balfour
(Unionist Coalition)
Augustine Birrell.jpg
Augustine Birrell 10 December 1905 23 January 1907 Liberal Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Reginald McKenna photo.jpg
Reginald McKenna 23 January 1907 12 April 1908 Liberal
1905 Walter Runciman.jpg
Walter Runciman 12 April 1908 23 October 1911 Liberal H. H. Asquith
1910 Jack Pease.jpg
Jack Pease 23 October 1911 25 May 1915 Liberal
1910 Arthur Henderson.jpg
Arthur Henderson 25 May 1915 18 August 1916 Labour H. H. Asquith
(Coalition)
Portrait of Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe.jpg
Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe 18 August 1916 10 December 1916 Liberal
Herbert Fisher.jpg
Herbert Fisher 10 December 1916 19 October 1922 Liberal David Lloyd George
(Coalition)
1st Earl of Halifax 1947.jpg
Edward Wood 24 October 1922 22 January 1924 Conservative Bonar Law
Stanley Baldwin
1922 Charles Trevelyan.jpg
Charles Trevelyan 22 January 1924 3 November 1924 Labour Ramsay MacDonald
Portrait of Lord Eustace Percy.jpg
Eustace Percy, 1st Baron Percy of Newcastle 6 November 1924 4 June 1929 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
1922 Charles Trevelyan.jpg
Charles Trevelyan 7 June 1929 2 March 1931
(resigned)
Labour Ramsay MacDonald
Blank.png
Hastings Lees-Smith 2 March 1931 24 August 1931 Labour
1916 Sir Donald Maclean.jpg
Donald Maclean 25 August 1931 15 June 1932
(died in office)
Liberal Ramsay MacDonald
(1st & 2nd National Min.)
1st Earl of Halifax 1947.jpg
Edward Wood, Lord Irwin
(Viscount Halifax from 1934)
15 June 1932 7 June 1935 Conservative
Oliver Stanley.png
Oliver Stanley 7 June 1935 28 May 1937 Conservative Stanley Baldwin
(3rd National Min.)
Stanhope7.JPG
James Stanhope, 7th Earl Stanhope 28 May 1937 27 October 1938 Conservative Neville Chamberlain
(4th National Min;
War Coalition)
Lord De La warr.jpg
Herbrand Sackville, 9th Earl De La Warr 27 October 1938 3 April 1940 National Labour
Herwald Ramsbotham, 1st Viscount Soulbury.jpg
Herwald Ramsbotham 3 April 1940 20 July 1941 Conservative Winston Churchill
(War Coalition)
Richard-Austen-Rab-Butler-1st-Baron-Butler-of-Saffron-Walden.jpg
R. A. Butler 20 July 1941 3 August 1944 Conservative

Minister of Education (1944–1964)

Colour key (for political parties):
  Conservative   Labour

Minister Term of office Party Prime Minister
Richard-Austen-Rab-Butler-1st-Baron-Butler-of-Saffron-Walden.jpg
R. A. Butler 3 August 1944 25 May 1945 Conservative Winston Churchill
(War Coalition)
Lord Coleraine.jpg
Richard Law 25 May 1945 26 July 1945 Conservative Winston Churchill
(Caretaker Min.)
Ellen Cicely Wilkinson.jpg
Ellen Wilkinson 3 August 1945 6 February 1947
(died in office)
Labour Clement Attlee
Blank.png
George Tomlinson 10 February 1947 26 October 1951 Labour
Flo horsbrugh.jpg
Florence Horsbrugh 2 November 1951 18 October 1954 Conservative Winston Churchill
David Eccles crop.jpg
David Eccles 18 October 1954 13 January 1957 Conservative
Anthony Eden
Quintin Hogg, Baron Hailsham Allan Warren.jpg
Quintin Hogg, Baron Hailsham of St Marylebone 13 January 1957 17 September 1957 Conservative Harold Macmillan
Blank.png
Geoffrey Lloyd| 17 September 1957 14 October 1959 Conservative
David Eccles crop.jpg
David Eccles 14 October 1959 13 July 1962 Conservative
Blank.png
Edward Boyle, Baron Boyle of Handsworth 13 July 1962 1 April 1964 Conservative
Alec Douglas-Home

Secretary of State for Education and Science (1964–1992)

Colour key (for political parties):
  Conservative   Labour

Secretary of State Term of office Party Prime Minister
Quintin Hogg, Baron Hailsham Allan Warren.jpg
Quintin Hogg
(formerly Viscount Hailsham)
1 April 1964 16 October 1964 Conservative Alec Douglas-Home
Michael Stewart (1966).jpg
Michael Stewart 18 October 1964 22 January 1965 Labour Harold Wilson
Charles-Anthony-Raven-Crosland (cropped).jpg
Anthony Crosland 22 January 1965 29 August 1967 Labour
Patrick Gordon Walker.jpg
Patrick Gordon Walker 29 August 1967 6 April 1968 Labour
Blank.png
Edward Short 6 April 1968 19 June 1970 Labour
Thatcher-loc.jpg
Margaret Thatcher[10][6] 20 June 1970 4 March 1974 Conservative Edward Heath
Blank.png
Reginald Prentice[11] 5 March 1974 9 June 1975 Labour Harold Wilson
Fred Mulley.PNG
Fred Mulley[12] 10 June 1975 9 September 1976 Labour
James Callaghan
Shirley Williams, 1984.jpg
Shirley Williams[13] 10 September 1976 4 May 1979 Labour
Blank.png
Mark Carlisle 5 May 1979 14 September 1981 Conservative Margaret Thatcher
Blank.png
Keith Joseph[14] 14 September 1981 20 May 1986 Conservative
Official portrait of Lord Baker of Dorking crop 2.jpg
Kenneth Baker[15] 21 May 1986 23 July 1989 Conservative
Official portrait of Lord MacGregor of Pulham Market crop 2.jpg
John MacGregor[16] 24 July 1989 1 November 1990 Conservative
Official portrait of Mr Kenneth Clarke crop 2.jpg
Kenneth Clarke[17] 2 November 1990 9 April 1992 Conservative
John Major

Secretary of State for Education (1992–1995)

Colour key (for political parties):
  Conservative

Secretary of State Term of office Party Prime Minister
Blank.png
John Patten[18] 10 April 1992 20 July 1994 Conservative John Major
Official portrait of Baroness Shephard of Northwold crop 2.jpg
Gillian Shephard[19] 20 July 1994 5 July 1995 Conservative

Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1995–2001)

Colour key (for political parties):
  Conservative   Labour

Secretary of State Term of office Party Prime Minister
Official portrait of Baroness Shephard of Northwold crop 2.jpg
Gillian Shephard[19] 5 July 1995 1 May 1997 Conservative John Major
Official Portrait of Lord Blunkett crop 1.jpg
David Blunkett[20] 1 May 1997 8 June 2001 Labour Tony Blair

Secretary of State for Education and Skills (2001–2007)

Colour key (for political parties):
  Labour

Secretary of State Term of office Party Prime Minister
Official portrait of Baroness Morris of Yardley crop 2, 2019.jpg
Estelle Morris[21] 8 June 2001 24 October 2002
(resigned)
Labour Tony Blair
CharlesClarke2014.jpg
Charles Clarke[22] 24 October 2002 15 December 2004 Labour
RuthKellyMP.jpg
Ruth Kelly[23] 15 December 2004 5 May 2006 Labour
Alan Johnson MP.jpg
Alan Johnson[24] 5 May 2006 28 June 2007 Labour

Secretaries of State for Children, Schools and Families (2007–2010); and Innovation, Universities and Skills (2007–2009)

In 2007, the education portfolio was divided between the Department for Children, Schools and Families (responsible for infant, primary and secondary education) and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (responsible for further, higher and adult education). In 2009, the latter department was merged into the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families

Main article: Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families

Colour key (for political parties):
  Labour   Labour Co-op

Name Portrait Term of office Length of term Political party Prime Minister
Ed Balls[25]
Ed Balls 2.jpg
28 June 2007 11 May 2010 2 years, 10 months and 13 days Labour Co-op Gordon Brown

Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills

Main article: Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills

Colour key (for political parties):
  Labour

Name Portrait Term of office Length of term Political party Prime Minister
John Denham[26]
John Denham.jpg
28 June 2007 5 June 2009 1 year, 11 months and 8 days Labour Gordon Brown

Secretary of State for Education (2010–present)

The Department for Education and the post of Secretary of State for Education were recreated in 2010.

Responsibility for higher and adult education remained with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Vince Cable 2010–2015, Sajid Javid 2015–2016), until reunited with the Department for Education in 2016.

Colour key (for political parties):
  Conservative

Secretary of State Term of office Party Prime Minister
Michael Gove Minister.jpg
Michael Gove[27]
(tenure)
12 May 2010 15 July 2014 Conservative David Cameron
(Coalition)
Official Portrait of Baroness Morgan of Cotes.jpg
Nicky Morgan[28] 15 July 2014 13 July 2016 Conservative
David Cameron
(II)
Official portrait of Justine Greening crop 2.jpg
Justine Greening[29] 14 July 2016 8 January 2018 Conservative Theresa May
(I)
Theresa May
(II)
Official portrait of Damian Hinds MP crop 2.jpg
Damian Hinds[30] 8 January 2018 24 July 2019 Conservative
Official portrait of Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP crop 2.jpg
Gavin Williamson[31] 24 July 2019 15 September 2021 Conservative Boris Johnson
(I)
Boris Johnson
(II)
Official portrait of Nadhim Zahawi MP crop 2.jpg
Nadhim Zahawi[32] 15 September 2021 5 July 2022 Conservative
Official portrait of Michelle Donelan MP crop 2.jpg
Michelle Donelan 5 July 2022 7 July 2022 Conservative
Official portrait of Rt Hon James Cleverly MP crop 2.jpg
James Cleverly[33] 7 July 2022 6 September 2022 Conservative
A white man with brown hair and a blue suit
Kit Malthouse[34] 6 September 2022 25 October 2022 Conservative Liz Truss (I)
Official portrait of Gillian Keegan MP crop 2.jpg
Gillian Keegan 25 October 2022 Incumbent Conservative Rishi Sunak (I)

* Incumbent's length of term last updated: 18 November 2022.

References

  1. ^ "Secretary of State for Education". gov.uk. Retrieved 30 June 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "His Majesty's Government: The Cabinet". Parliament of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 30 June 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "Work of the Education Secretary Committee". BBC PARLIAMENT. 30 April 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2022. Recorded coverage of the Education select committee on the work of the Secretary of State with Education Secretary Michael Gove
  4. ^ "Secretary of State for Education – GOV.UK". gov.uk.
  5. ^ "Records created or inherited by the Department of Education and Science, and of related bodies". The National Archives. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  6. ^ a b Wilby, Peter (2020). "Is Gavin Williamson the worst education secretary ever?". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 23 February 2021. Margaret Thatcher, the only education secretary so far who went on to become prime minister
  7. ^ "Reshuffle: Greening quits government". BBC News. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  8. ^ Gutteridge, Nick (7 July 2022). "Minister who quit after 35 hours is in line for £17,000 payout". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  9. ^ "No. 27172". The London Gazette. 9 March 1900. p. 1609.
  10. ^ "Baroness Thatcher". UK Parliament. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  11. ^ "Lord Prentice". UK Parliament. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  12. ^ "Lord Mulley". UK Parliament. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  13. ^ "Baroness Williams of Crosby". UK Parliament. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  14. ^ "Lord Joseph". UK Parliament. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  15. ^ "Lord Baker of Dorking". UK Parliament. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  16. ^ "Lord MacGregor of Pulham Market". UK Parliament. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  17. ^ "Lord Clarke of Nottingham". UK Parliament. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  18. ^ "Lord Patten". UK Parliament. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  19. ^ a b "Baroness Shephard of Northwold". UK Parliament. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  20. ^ "Lord Blunkett". UK Parliament. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  21. ^ "Baroness Morris of Yardley". UK Parliament. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  22. ^ "Rt Hon Charles Clarke". UK Parliament. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  23. ^ "Ruth Kelly". UK Parliament. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  24. ^ "Rt Hon Alan Johnson". UK Parliament. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  25. ^ "Rt Hon Ed Balls". UK Parliament. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  26. ^ "Rt Hon John Denham". UK Parliament. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  27. ^ "Rt Hon Michael Gove MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  28. ^ "Baroness Morgan of Cotes". UK Parliament. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  29. ^ "Rt Hon Justine Greening". UK Parliament. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  30. ^ "Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  31. ^ "Rt Hon Gavin Williamson MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  32. ^ "Nadhim Zahawi MP". UK Parliament. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  33. ^ @10DowningStreet (7 July 2022). "The Rt Hon James Cleverly MP @JamesCleverly has been appointed Secretary of State for Education @educationgovuk" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  34. ^ @10DowningStreet (6 September 2022). "The Rt Hon Kit Malthouse MP @KitMalthouse as Secretary of State for Education @EducationGovUK #Reshuffle" (Tweet) – via Twitter.