Former skills minister Robert Halfon and ex-schools minister Nick Gibb are making a return to the Department for Education’s ministerial team.
The pair were announced as new ministers of state in the DfE tonight as part of prime minister Rishi Sunak’s reshuffle.
Their roles are likely to be confirmed in the coming days, but FE Week understands that Halfon will return to skills and Gibb will return to schools.
DfE sources have indicated that current skills minister Andrea Jenkyns and minister for school standards Jonathan Gullis left their posts on Thursday afternoon, although there has been no official confirmation yet.
It comes just hours after Jenkyns addressed a Westminster Hall debate on last week’s Colleges Week.
No update has been given for the children’s minister role, currently held by Kelly Tolhurst.
Halfon held the skills brief from 2016 to 2017 before being sacked. He then became the chair of the education select committee and has held the role since.
Gibb had served as schools minister for most of the last ten years before being sacked last year by Boris Johnson.
Their appointments come as Sunak is reportedly planning education reforms including a new “British baccalaureate”, which is an idea favoured by Halfon and would require children to study a wider range of subjects in post-16 education, with English and maths compulsory.
The prime minister will also announce plans for a network of elite technical institutions, the Times reported.
Former skills minister Gillian Keegan was announced as the new education secretary yesterday.
The appointments mark a shift in experience at the department, whose ministers had much less experience both as MPs and in senior roles
Halfon said it was an honour to be reappointed to the DfE and is “looking forward to working with colleagues to deliver the prime minister’s exciting education & skills agenda to ensure every student can climb the educational ladder of opportunity”.
Gibb also said it was an “honour to be asked by the PM to return to the DfE. Looking forward to helping deliver the PM’s ambitious plans for ever higher standards in schools and world class technical education.”
A new education committee chair will now need to be appointed to replace Halfon.