Andrea Jenkyns has been named as the new minister for skills, further education and higher education at the Department for Education.
Here is what we know about her…
1. Jenkyns was first elected as an MP in May 2015 for the Morley and Outwood seat in West Yorkshire. She defeated Labour’s former children, schools and families minister and shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, at that election by 422 votes.
2. Her promotion to the DfE is her first paid ministerial post, but has served as an assistant whip in the whips office since September last year and was a parliamentary private secretary in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government before quitting in 2018 to campaign for Brexit.
3. Prior to her life in politics, Jenkyns’ jobs have included working for Greggs, as a music tutor, and as a manager in a retail store.
4. Jenkyns is understood to be an operatic soprano singer, and released an album, Ilyis, in 2006 under the name Andrea.
5. She studied for two degrees – one in international relations from Lincoln University, and another in economics from the Open University. In an April 2018 debate on higher education she told the house she was the first person in her family to go to university.
6. Media reports suggest that her father sent her photo in to the Miss UK competition when she was 18, where she reached the finals.
7. Jenkyns has some HE experience beyond being a learner – she served as a director of the National Centre for Higher Education Policy at the University of Bolton from July 2019 until September last year, according to her Parliament register of interests. That saw her earn £25,000 a year for eight hours work per week.
8. Elsewhere on her register of interests, Jenkyns was an unpaid member of pro-Brexit group Foundation for Independence’s political advisory board from March 2021, and from May until September 2021 an unpaid member for the Foundation for Education Development National Ambassadors Group.
9. Among education issues she has spoken on in parliament have been the Kickstart scheme, mental health support for children in schools, minimising exam stress for SATs students, supporting sports provision in schools, clarity on the GCSE 1-9 grading system, and increasing college funding for 16 to 19s.
10. In March 2016 in a debate on apprenticeships, Jenkyns announced an ambition to create 50 new apprenticeships in 50 days alongside local businesses in her constituency.
11. In July 2019 she issued a tweet in which she reported to have suffered whiplash and concussion after an accident swinging around on her seat at a constituency meeting.
12. Jenkyns courted controversy last week after raising her middle finger to a group of protestors outside Downing Street on the day of the prime minister’s resignation. She later issued a statement that said she had been a regular victim of abuse and was standing up for herself.