After just 18 months in post, former Education Secretary Justine Greening had one of the shortest tenures in the role. In a cabinet reshuffle by Theresa May, the Putney MP refused a position as Work and Pensions Secretary to resign from her position in the Government.
Damian Hinds has been appointed as the new Education Secretary following a move from the sector pinpointed for Justine Greening to join. Yet he takes the role with teaching in a challenging state across the country.
Despite announcing a boost of £1.3 billion to schools, September’s funding formula was criticised by education professionals for being a ‘postcode lottery’ and data suggests 88% of schools will be working with a smaller budget in 2020 than they did in 2015.
Balancing the books has been a thankless task for Headteachers in recent years with staffing cuts being made in a number of settings. The lack of manpower has added to teacher workload in what was already a relentless job role and schools are now struggling with a recruitment crisis that has missed targets for a fifth consecutive year.
89% of schools in the country are now rated as “good” or “outstanding” by Ofsted but suggestions that the regulatory body are not providing support for struggling schools has left some education experts demanding a rethink of Ofsted’s way of working.
According to the BBC, recent polls indicate that education in the United Kingdom is the third greatest concern for the general public. Justine Greening has made slight improvements in some areas of education during a short tenure but the underlying problems continue to bubble just below the surface…staff and pupil wellbeing is suffering under a ‘results at all costs’ attitude within the industry.
Damian Hinds takes this role with an opportunity to drag education into a better state. Justine Greening laid the foundations but now Mr Hinds must bolster a sector that is in desperate need of a boost before the next generation’s future is dropped into turmoil.