Meet the unpaid temporary minister helping cover the FE brief

The Department for Education has announced that Michelle Donelan will take over Kemi Badenoch’s brief as she goes on maternity leave.

It is expected this means that Donelan (pictured), the MP for Chippenham, will hold the remit for supporting further education.

Badenoch was appointed a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in Boris Johnson’s recent reshuffle, in which the new prime minister didn’t name a dedicated skills minister to replace Anne Milton who resigned.

Instead, education secretary Gavin Williamson took on the brief personally, with the support of Badenoch.

Donelan became an MP in May 2015 and has previously sat on the education select committee.

She appears to have a keen interest in education and her local college.

Her website’s ‘about’ page states: “From parking charges to education funding – I am on your side.”

In another post on her website from February 2018, Donelan says she “once again stressed in the Commons that there is not value for money in the UK further education system because it lacks transparency so students can’t make informed choices. I welcomed the prime minister’s recent announcement of a post 18 education review which will look at this.”

In March 2019 she visited Wiltshire College‘s Lackham Campus to meet with the principal Amanda Burnside.

“I supported the college LEP bid and was it excited to see the plans come to place,” she said.

“It really will be a state-of-the-art centre of excellence for agricultural engineering and robotics dairy farming. The college has invested heavily in engineering and science-based subjects and are planning a new Campus Hub for learning, a robotics dairy and an animal science building. This will be a great asset for our community from people going into further education, doing apprenticeships and upskilling – so watch this space!”

It is not known if Donelan will stay on as a junior minister in the DfE once Badenoch returns from maternity leave.