Nadhim Zadawi replaces Gavin Williamson as Education Secretary
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has removed Gavin Williamson as Education Secretary. He has replaced him with Nadhim Zadawi, who was previously Vaccines Minister. Williamson had been in the post since Johnson became PM in July 2019.
Williamson lost many supporters when he failed to create a reliable results system for students taking exams during Covid in 2020. A level, GCSE exam results and university grades were enormously inflated. There was a U-turn when it came to getting primary school children to return after the first lockdown. And he battled publicly with Marcus Rashford over free school meals. He lost.
It has been a privilege to serve as Education Secretary since 2019. Despite the challenges of the global pandemic, I’m particularly proud of the transformational reforms I’ve led in Post 16 education: in further education colleges, our Skills agenda, apprenticeships and more.
— Gavin Williamson (@GavinWilliamson) September 15, 2021
Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, worked closely with him. He said: “We can’t pretend that we’re sorry Gavin Williamson has gone. “He really had lost the confidence of teachers and headteachers – I think of many parents.”
Courtney said the prime minister “should have acted sooner” and that Gavin Williamson “really wouldn’t engage with us”.
Simon Heffer describes Williamson as an “exhibition piece of mediocrity” in an article for Perspective in July, mentioning his rumoured departure at a reshuffle:
“Johnson is famed for his sense of humour; and so one must presume it is his little postmodern joke to put perhaps the most gormless man he could find in charge of England’s education system and the policies affecting it. It has been rumoured that Williamson’s pointlessness is now so widely appreciated that even Johnson has had enough, and he will be removed from his post in the next reshuffle.”