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New Education Secretary says he will listen to young people and families

The new Education Secretary, Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi, has said he wants all children, young people and adults to have access to a brilliant education and opportunities to secure good jobs.

Nadhim Zahawi (51309816)
Nadhim Zahawi (51309816)

Speaking for the first time since taking over yesterday from Gavin Williamson, Mr Zahawi said: “Children and young people have had a tough time during this pandemic and I’ll be listening to them and their families as we accelerate our work to build back better and fairer.

“From my own experience, I know what a beacon of opportunity this country can be and I want all children, young people and adults to have access to a brilliant education, the right qualifications and opportunities to secure good jobs.”

Mr Zahawi said education is a “crucial part” of the Government’s levelling-up agenda, adding it is an “honour” to be made Secretary of State.

Mr Zahawi was appointed the UK’s vaccines minister in November 2020 and has previously served as children and families minister in the Department of Education.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “The Department for Education may now be under new management but the same challenges remain.

“More ambition is needed on post-Covid education recovery, investment in schools and colleges, support for children with special educational needs, and closing the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers.”

He added: “What our members need from the new education secretary is a greater sense of strategy and support than has been the case in the past so that we can together provide children and young people with the very best start in life.”

On Mr Zahawi’s appointment, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), added: “We hope that Nadhim Zahawi shows a passion and an interest in education and realises the power that valued education professionals have to transform the lives of young people.

“The Comprehensive Spending Review is in a matter of weeks.

“The new Secretary of State must be a strong advocate in Government for schools and colleges to be given the resources and funding they need to support education recovery for all children and young people.”

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