Gavin Williamson keeps education secretary role

Gavin Williamson is to stay on as education secretary following a post-Brexit ministerial reshuffle.

However, it’s not known whether the MP for South Staffordshire will keep the FE and skills brief he has held since his appointment last July.

Many calls, including from Conservative MPs, have been made for prime minister Boris Johnson to appoint a dedicated minister for the sector – a role that has been vacant since Anne Milton resigned.

Downing Street confirmed Williamson, who studied A-levels at Scarborough Sixth Form College, would keep his role at the Department for Education on Twitter this afternoon.

He later tweeted: “From early years to further education, I will ensure we deliver the skills the country needs .”

Michelle Donelan, who was covering for Kemi Badenoch as children and families minister with some responsibilities for FE while she was on maternity leave, has been appointed to the DfE permanently. Badenoch has moved to the Treasury as a minister.

On Williamson’s reappointment, James Kewin, deputy chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, said: “We are pleased that Gavin Williamson will remain in post. During his short time in the role, he has already managed to secure more investment for sixth-form education than all of his predecessors combined since 2010.

“He has also engaged very constructively with us and our members, and as a former sixth form college student, has first-hand experience of the sector.

“We look forward to continuing this positive relationship, particularly with a Budget, the conclusion of the level 3 qualification review, and a spending review all due to take place in the year ahead.”

Association of Employment and Learning Providers chief executive Mark Dawe said the decision to keep Williamson on at the DfE was “sensible”.

“We hope that the secretary of state will impress upon the new chancellor the need for greater investment in apprenticeships, particularly a separate fund for non-levy payers of £1.5 billion,” he added.

The Association of Colleges tweeted to say Williamson has been “clear that FE is a priority, and we look forward to continuing to work with him to make sure colleges, communities and businesses can thrive”.