Lord Agnew to help with FE and skills brief at DfE

Yet another minister in the Department for Education has been given some responsibility for further education.

It was announced this afternoon that Lord Agnew, the unpaid minister for the school system, will take on responsibility for the “further education provider market, including quality and improvement”.

He will also lead on EU exit preparation, delivery of the careers strategy, and safeguarding in schools and post-16 providers.

Agnew is the third minister to take on an FE brief in Boris Johnson’s new government, after he failed to appoint a dedicated skills minister in his reshuffle when Anne Milton resigned.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson is taking the lead on FE, while children and families minister Kemi Badenoch is offering support.

Badenoch has, however, now gone on maternity leave and had her responsibilities taken over by Michelle Donelan in the interim.

Donelan will support Williamson in his role as skills lead, including on the delivery of T-levels, apprenticeships and adult education, in “recognition of the important role technical education plays as the country prepares to leave the European Union”.

“I truly believe that a good education is the key to creating a fair society where everyone, no matter where they come from or their circumstances, has opportunities to succeed,” Donelan said today.

“From the earliest years of children’s lives to the point at which they make decisions about their further education or training, I am proud to be joining a department that is focusing its efforts on the most disadvantaged in society.”

Donelan remains as a government whip, taking on the role at the Department for Education on an unpaid basis for the duration of Badenoch’s maternity leave.

She was previously a member of the education select committee between July 2015 and October 2018.

Chris Skidmore has returned as universities minister.