The Prime Minister announced yesterday (28 Sept) that Sir Theodore Agnew will take up a role as minister in the Lords at the Department for Education, following the retirement of Lord Nash.
Lord Nash was appointed as a minister at the Department in 2013 and since then has played a vital part in the work to reform the school system that has led to 1.8 million more pupils in good or outstanding schools than in 2010. He has also helped pioneer the academies and free schools that have helped deliver innovation, choice and higher standards to pupils and parents all over the country.
Sir Theodore will be Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System, responsible for helping to realise the government’s ambition to create an education system that allows everyone to unlock their potential, regardless of their background.
A non-executive director at the Department for Education from 2010 to 2015, and Chair of the Academies Board from 2013 to 2015, Sir Theodore has previously worked closely with ministers to help drive forward improvement across the school system.
In 2012 he set up the charity Inspiration Trust, a multi-academy trust which has helped transform school performance and widen opportunities for pupils in schools across East Anglia.
Sir Theodore will be stepping away from all relevant business interests while he is serving as a minister, and is agreeing arrangements with the Permanent Secretary and Cabinet Office to ensure that processes are put in place to prevent any conflict of interest between his ministerial role and his charitable interests.
The position, which is unpaid, will report to the Secretary of State for Education. Sir Theodore will be leaving his current roles as non-executive director at the Ministry of Justice and trustee at the Education Policy Institute in order to undertake his new role as a minister. He will also leave his role as Chair of Inspiration Trust, though he will remain as a trustee.
Commenting on the announcement, Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, said:
I am delighted to be welcoming Sir Theodore to the team here at the department. His experience both in government and in education makes him ideally placed to help take forward our ambition to create a school system that gives every child the chance to fulfil their potential, regardless of their background.
He’s already been doing this through his work at the Inspiration Trust, which has shown its capacity to transform lives.
I’d also like to thank John Nash for the dedication and passion he has given to his role as minister. John has overseen a transformation of standards across our schools during his tenure and I wish him the very best in his retirement.
Sir Theodore Agnew said:
No area of government touches lives as universally as education. I’ve seen the transformative effect that good schools can have on pupils, regardless of their background - and how an excellent education can unlock potential and open doors to exciting and fulfilling careers.
“I’m determined to ensure that every child in every part of the country should have the same chance to go to such a school. It’s a real privilege to be taking on this role at the Department for Education, and I look forward to working with the great leaders and teachers across the profession and getting on with this incredibly important job.
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System
The minister’s responsibilities include:
- a strong school system (including free schools, academies, multi-academy trusts, university technical colleges, studio schools, faith schools, independent schools, home education, supplementary schools)
- tackling school underperformance
- school improvement (including teaching school alliances, national and local leaders of education and school improvement funds)
- school governance
- school capital investment (including new school places, school maintenance, land and playing fields)
- tackling extremism in schools and colleges
- behaviour and attendance, exclusions and alternative provision