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Department for Education and Skills Ministerial Team

RT HON Alan Johnson - Secretary of State for Education and Skills

Secretary of State for Education and Skills:

The Rt. Hon. Alan Johnson MP

Has overall responsibility for:

  • The Department, its policies and strategy
  • Finance and public expenditure
  • Economic issues
  • Major appointments


The Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP is the new Secretary of State for Education and Skills.

Alan has had a long career as a Government minister. He was previously the Secretary of State at the Department of Trade and Industry, and before that, Secretary of State at the Department of Work and Pensions. Earlier, he held the post of Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education; before that he was Minister of State for Employment Relations and Regions and, before that, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Competitiveness, both at the Department of Trade and Industry.

Alan Johnson was born in 1950 and was educated at Sloane Grammar School, Chelsea. He became a postman in 1968, and joined the Union of Communication Workers at the same time.

He held a number of posts representing employees since 1976 and was elected to the National Executive Council in 1981. He became General Secretary in 1992 and Joint General Secretary of the CWU from 1995 to 1997.

He was a Member of the General Council TUC from 1994 to 1995 and a member of the Labour Party NEC 1995 to 1997.

Mr Johnson was a member of the Trade and Industry Select Committee until he was made Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury in December 1997 and then to the Paymaster General in January 1999.

Jim Knight MP

Minister of State for Schools and 14 - 19 learners:
Jim Knight


Takes an overview of all schools strategy, with a particular focus on: transforming secondary schools; behaviour; 14-19 learners; school funding and capital including Building Schools for the Future; remodelling the school workforce; and raising standards across the board. His specific responsibilities are:

Transforming secondary education

  • School structures, diversity, choice and contestability, rural schools
  • School recurrent funding and capital (BSF, PPP/PFI)
  • Personalisation - tailoring, catch-up and stretch
  • OFSTED, school improvement, intervention and the 'New Relationship With Schools'
  • Admissions, school organisation and school governance
  • Parental choice and parental engagement in schools (working with Parmjit Dhanda on the overall Parenting Strategy)
  • Key stage 3 and 4 strategy
  • Behaviour, discipline and attendance, including bullying
  • Pupil Referral Units and Learner Support Units

Remodelling the school workforce

  • Teacher workload, workforce agreement and support staff
  • Teachers' pay, performance management and conditions
  • Teacher recruitment, retention, training and CPD
  • National College for School Leadership, Training and Development Agency and General Teaching Council
  • Teachers Misconduct

Education and learning for all 14-19s

  • Implementation of the 14-19 White Paper (with Phil Hope)
  • School 6th forms, Strategic Area Reviews and 16-19 reorganisations

Other specific responsibilities:

  • Overall policy on National Curriculum testing and assessment including liaison with QCA
  • Overall school funding and funding formula
  • Local authority funding (working with Beverley Hughes)
  • ICT in schools (working with Phil Hope given his broader ICT remit), the digital curriculum, Teachers TV, relations with the BBC
  • PE and School Sport, relationship with YST, Playing Fields and the DfES contribution to the Olympics


Jim was elected MP for Dorset South in June 2001. Between 2001 and 2003 he was a member of the Defence Select Committee. Jim was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Rosie Winterton MP at the Department of Health in 2003, before going on to serve as PPS to the Department of Health’s Ministerial Team in 2004.

Following the 2005 General Election, Jim was promoted to Minister for Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity and continued to work at DEFRA until he became Minister of State for Schools and 14-19 Learners in May 2006.

Between 1997 and 2001, Jim was leader of the Labour Group, and Deputy Leader, of Mendip District Council. In 1999 he became Mayor of Frome. Jim, 41, was educated at Cambridge. Before entering Parliament, he managed a publishing company, based in the West Country, for 10 years. Prior to that, Jim Knight managed arts venues and worked for a small scale traveling Theatre Company. Jim Knight is married with two children.

RT HON Beverley Hughes MP

Minister for Children, Young People and Families:
RT HON Beverley Hughes MP

Beverley Hughes has overarching responsibility for children, young people & families policy and the Every Child Matters programme, including leading work across government and working closely with the new Social Exclusion Minister. She will chair the departmental safeguarding board and maintain an overview of all areas.

Every Child Matters: strategy, change & performance

  • Local Govt Policy & Children's Trusts
  • ECM Deep Dives (and Cabinet Office review of ECM/Schools)
  • Inspection & Intervention
  • Govt offices & field forces
  • Commissioning & Market Development
  • Knowledge for Improvement
  • DfES/HMT Thematic Review of Children's Services
  • Finance

Sure Start, Early Years & Childcare

  • Delivery of the 10 Year Childcare Strategy
  • Extended Schools
  • Children's Centres
  • Childcare Bill
  • Early Learning & Development
  • Childcare Market Development

Youth Matters Strategy - policy development & implementation (including YOC)

Integrated & targeted support

  • "Respect" (including National Parenting Academy and respect parenting work)
  • Teenage Pregnancy strategy/PSA
  • Liaison with new Social Exclusion Ministers on teenage pregnancy & in preparation of LAC Green Paper

Chair of Departmental Safeguarding Board
Oversight of safeguarding issues and lead on response to serious case reviews and critical child protection incidents

Delivery of Looked After Children Green Paper (for Sept 06)


  • Children's & early years workforce reform
  • Children's Workforce Development Council
  • Common Assessment Framework & Lead Professional
  • Information Sharing Index

Every Child Matters Communications strategy

Beverley was educated at Ellesmere Port Girl’s Grammar School. She went on to graduate with a BSc (Hons) from Manchester University in 1971, where she also graduated with an MSc for her postgraduate research into the care of people with schizophrenia in 1978. She undertook postgraduate professional training at Liverpool University and subsequently worked as a probation officer in Merseyside. From 1978 to 1997 she was a lecturer, senior lecturer and subsequently head the Department of Social Policy at Manchester University. Beverley is married with three children who all attended local primary and secondary schools, and lives in Trafford, Manchester.

In 1986 Beverley was elected Councillor for the borough of Trafford, and went on to become leader of the Labour Group in 1992, and Trafford Borough Council Leader in 1995.

In 1997 Beverley was elected MP for Stretford and Urmston. From June 1997 to July 1998 she served as a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee until her appointment as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Hilary Armstrong, Minister for Local Government and Housing. In July 1999 the Prime Minister appointed her to the Government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, with responsibility for local government, regions, regeneration, planning and construction.

Following the general election in 2001, Beverley was appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Prisons and Probation in the Home Office and took through the emergency Crime and Anti-Terrorism legislation, passed in December 2001 following the events of September 11th. In the Cabinet re-shuffle of May 2002 she was appointed Minister of State for Immigration, Citizenship and Counter Terrorism.

Following the general election in 2005, Beverley was appointed Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families at the Department for Education and Skills.

When Beverley is being introduced at events, she prefers a very short biography, such as:

Before entering Parliament in 1997, Beverley Hughes had a number of careers as a probation officer, academic and Local Councillor, becoming leader of Trafford Metropolitan Council in 1995. She was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary in 1998 and Minister for Local Government and Housing in 1999. At the Home Office, she was Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Prisons and Probations and the Minister of State for Immigration, Citizenship and Counter – Terrorism. In 2005 she was appointed Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families at the Department for Education and Skills.

Bill Rammell MP

Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education :
Bill Rammell MP

Takes an overview of HE, FE, international relations, adult skills, the LSC and lifelong learning ensuring the overall coherence of all post-19 policy. He will take a direct lead on Higher Education issues and the reform of Further Education including the FE Bill and implementation of the FE White Paper, on which Phil Hope will support him. Bill Rammell will also lead on the LSC, its budget and operational performance. His specific areas of responsibility are:

Higher Education

  • Standards in the Learning and Skills sector
  • Widening participation in HE
  • Student finance and the Student Loans Company
  • Quality assurance In HE
  • Research and innovation in HE (including review of the RAE)
  • Part-time learners
  • PMI 2
  • Endowments
  • Employer Engagement in HEC to include foundation degrees, HE Train to Gain and compressed degrees
  • Review of T Funding

Learning and Skills Council funding, operations and performance

Further Education (supported by Phil Hope)

  • Overall reform strategy, FE Bill and Implementation of the FE White Paper
  • Success for All / Priorities for Success
  • Revenue and capital funding
  • FE corporations and governance
  • Pay and workforce in the HE and FE sectors
  • All student support post 19
  • Quality and Inspection post-19

Other specific responsibilities:

  • International Relations and Strategy
  • Science and Technology policy post 16
  • Community Cohesion
  • Departmental efficiency and effectiveness
  • Value for money
  • Reducing Bureaucracy
  • Thames Gateway FE/HE Action Group

Bill Rammell was first elected to the Commons in 1997, and sat on both the European Legislation and Scrutiny committees. He joined the government in 2001 as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Tessa Jowell, before moving on to the Whips Office.

In the October 2002 reshuffle he was promoted to Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign Office.

Parmjit Dhanda MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children, Young People and Families
Parmjit Dhanda MP

Parmjit Dhanda has specific responsibilities on which he will report to the Secretary of State. These will include 3 PSA targets; a new strategic responsibility for DfES interests in children's health; a new lead responsibility for the Department's parenting strategy and the lead on the DfES interest in the HMT Third Sector Review and in the Voluntary & Community Sector more generally. He will also be the department's lead on sustainability.

Parents strategy

  • Parenting Strategy - policy development
  • Information for Parents
  • Parenting Fund
  • Leading joint work to secure coherence in, and drive forward, the Department's policies in relation to parents. Chairing regular trilateral meetings with Jim Knight (covering schools, choice advice and Parental Support Advisers) and Beverley Hughes (covering Respect initiatives)

Children's Views & Interests/ Children & Youth Board

Voluntary & Community Sector

  • Policy development & cross government strategy
  • HMT Third Sector Review
  • VCS grants programme

Health Strategy

  • School Meals and Healthy Schools
  • Specific responsibility for overseeing and bringing together work on health related issues ie Obesity, CAMHS, sport, healthy schools, school meals, PSHE, drug and alcohol education etc (working with Jim Knight, Andrew Adonis and Beverley Hughes)

Sustainability & Environmental Issues


  • Making Safeguarding Everyone's Business
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill
  • Implementation of Vetting & Barring Scheme (inc Singleton Panel and safeguarding operations)
  • Looked After Children policy & delivery (taking forward Green Paper, post publication)
    - LAC PSA Target
    - Adoption policy (and Children (Contact) & Adoption Bill)
    - Links to Social Exclusion Ministers on LAC
  • Options for Excellence
  • Domestic Violence
  • Young Carers
  • Asylum Seeking Children
  • CAFCASS & Private Family Law

Youth Policy

  • NEETs PSA (young people Not in Education Employment or Training)
  • Substance abuse/drugs PSA (inc drugs PSA)
  • Youth justice (inc young offender learning and employment, with HO)
  • Young People's Information, Advice & Guidance/ Connexions Performance, Funding & Transition

16-19 Financial Support

  • DfES lead on HMT led review of 16-19 financial support (Dawn Primarolo chairs the Ministerial tripartite, with the DfES Minister and Jim Murphy of DWP);
  • Activity and Learning Agreement pilots (announced as the next step in Review reforms Budget 2005);
  • Current 16-19 financial support programmes, incl. EMAs, learner support funds, Care to Learn.


Parmjit was elected MP for Gloucester in 2001. He served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Stephen Twigg at the Department for Education and Skills in 2004, before becoming an assistant whip in 2005.

Parmjit, 34, studied engineering at Nottingham University and then worked for Connect, the union for professionals in communications. He was elected councillor for the London borough of Hillingdon in 1998, prior to becoming an MP.

Phil Hope MP

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Skills:
Phil Hope MP

He has a specific focus on adult skills and vocational education. He will also support Bill Rammell on the reform of FE. His specific areas of responsibility are:

Adult skills

  • The Skills Strategy
  • Leitch Review of Skills
  • Sector Skills Councils, Sector Skills Agreements and the SSDA
  • Rollout of the Train to Gain
  • Skills Academies
  • Skills for life
  • Personal and Community Development Learning
  • Employer Engagement and Business Relations
  • Skills Competitions including WorldSkills 2011 in London
  • Union Learning fund/Union Learning Representatives and the Union Academy
  • Adult Information, Advice and Guidance and development of Learn Direct / UFI
  • Investors in People

Education and Learning for all 14-19s (with Jim Knight)

  • Development of specialised diplomas
  • Work-related learning for 14-19s including Entry to Employment
  • Apprenticeships
  • Enterprise Education and Education Business Links

Other responsibilities:

  • FE reform (supporting Bill Rammell)
  • Regional Skills Policy and RDAs
  • Offender Learning and Skills (follow up to the Green Paper)
  • ICT and e-strategy (working with Jim Knight on ICT in schools specifically)

Phil Hope was first elected to Parliament in 1997. He was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in June 2003. He was previously Parliamentary Private Secretary to John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister and to Nick Raynsford as Minister of State for Housing and Planning.

Phil previously worked as a teacher at Kettering School for Boys; youth policy advisor to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations; Head of the Young Volunteer Resources Unit at the National Youth Bureau and management consultant to not-for-profit organisations.

Andrew Adonis - (representing the Department in the House of Lords)

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools:
Lord Andrew Adonis

Has a particular focus on Primary schools, the school curriculum and SEN disability and the delivery of the Academies and Trusts programme and the London Challenge. His specific responsibilities are:

Raising standards in Primary Schools

  • National strategies
  • Primary school curriculum
  • Class sizes

The school curriculum

  • Science, Design and Technology, History, Geography, English, Maths, RE, Sex Education, Citizenship, Modern Foreign Languages, PSHE (working with Parmjit Dhanda) and Playing for Success. Drug and alcohol education (working with Parmjit Dhanda)
  • Music and art across all the education and skills sectors, including the Music and Dance scheme. Education outside the classroom.

Other specific responsibilities:

  • Specialist Schools and the relationship with the SSAT
  • Delivery of the Academies programme and Trust Schools
  • Excellence in Cities and Delivery of London Challenge including admissions in London
  • SEN and disability
  • Independent Schools
  • Operation of the performance tables (supporting Jim Knight)
  • School trips
  • Gifted and Talented (supporting Jim Knight)
  • Pupil health and safety
  • School transport
  • Freedom of information
  • Teachers Pension
  • Equality issues including race and ethnic minorities in education (working with Parmjit Dhanda)

In addition, Andrew Adonis handles all Departmental business in the Lords, including DfES legislation.

Andrew Adonis is a former journalist with the Financial Times and the Observer. He was previously education and constitution policy adviser at No.10 and at one stage headed the Policy Unit. This is his first ministerial post.