WORCESTER’s MP Robin Walker has revealed his delight at being appointed Schools Minister in Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle.
Mr Walker teams up with new Education Secretary and Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi in a new look for the department after gaffe-prone Gavin Williamson left Government on Wednesday (September 15).
It’s a third ministerial post in five years for Mr Walker who was appointed as a Brexit minister by former Prime Minister Theresa May before moving to the Northern Ireland office in 2019.
With the prospect of schools and pupils catching up after Covid lockdowns and the issues of keeping children safe at school, Mr Walker will have a full in tray as he begins his new role.
He replaces popular Schools Minister Nick Gibb while Conor Burns replaces him in Northern Ireland.
“I’m delighted to be appointed by Boris Johnson to join Nadhim Zahawi at the Department for Education as Minister for Schools – an enormous challenge and a huge opportunity support the next generation,” Mr Walker said.
As well as celebrating his news, Mr Walker also reflected on his time at the Northern Ireland office and wished his successor well.
“Huge thanks to the brilliant team with whom it has been a privilege to work over the last two years,” he said.
“The business showcase on Wednesday was a great chance to celebrate some of NI’s success stories and the progress that’s been made. NI is a great place with a bright future.
“Congratulations to Conor, delighted to see him taking on the job and serving such a wonderful place he knows and loves.”
Mr Walker’s appointment was also broadly welcomed by Labour’s shadow schools minister Peter Kyle.
“Congratulations to Robin. He and I have had many respectful debates and disagreements before and I look forward to shadowing him now,” he said.
“Students and teachers deserve great policy and leadership so I don’t hesitate in wishing him well.”
“State schools have been held back by poor ministerial leadership and bad policy.
We now have a PM, education secretary and schools minister all privately educated. That’s the choice of their parents.
“But I hope they approach the state sector on its terms, learning from the wisdom and experience of young people and teachers as policy is developed,” he added.