Michelle Donelan: Who are they?

Michelle Donelan, an ex-minister of higher and further education, has been appointed education secretary.

Michelle Donelan: Who are they?

Michelle Donelan, an ex-minister of higher and further education, has been appointed education secretary.

This follows Nadhim Zahawi's resignation as chancellor.

Ms. Donelan, 38 years old, has been occupied for the past two decades with colleges and universities.

She now has to deal with the entire education system of England - and it is a very busy schedule.

Ms. Donelan will be dealing with the most difficult problem: the effects of two years' worth of disruption on schoolchildren.

Ministers expect 90% of primary school children to attain the expected standard in maths, reading, and writing by 2030.

Unions don't believe it is possible with the current funding levels. There's still a lot of work to be done.

Sats data showed that 59% of students achieved the expected level in these areas this week, a drop from 65% in 2019.

Ms. Donelan will also supervise the transfer of all money for catch-up tutoring directly into schools, following the end of Randstad's contract with the government.

Covid's impact will be felt also when A-level results are released next month following the first in-person exams for two years.

Grades will likely fall from records highs in 2020-2021, when grades were based on teacher assessments.

The 2019 boundary and teacher assessment levels in 2021 will serve as a "midpoint", with grade boundaries being set at the "middle" of the 2019 boundaries.

T-levels are the flagship technical qualification of the government. This year will be the first year that awards will be given to teenagers. Ms. Donelan will oversee the introduction of additional courses during the academic year.

There's also the matter of rising school costs. Ms Donelan will have to make sure that students don't suffer.

BBC News has been told by caterers that school meals are under threat due to the high cost of ingredients. This is at a time when hot food has become more important than ever for many families.

If unions aren’t satisfied with the government’s pay rise proposals, Ms Donelan may call for a teachers’ strike.

In its 2019 manifesto, the Conservative Party promised to increase teacher starting salaries to PS30,000. It aims to achieve this by 2022/23.

When he was education secretary, Mr Zahawi also stated that he advocated a 5% increase in pay for senior teachers over the next two years.

He has now stated that he would look at the evidence and make a "collective decision as a government" but that fiscal discipline is what's important.

Unions already deemed a proposal of 5% for experienced teachers unacceptable.

Ms. Donelan will also be responsible for overseeing the passage of the Schools Bill. This bill aims to, among other goals, move all schools into academy trusts by 2030.

After concerns that the bill would limit the freedom of academies to make their own decisions, the government has recently removed large portions of it.

The Department for Education removed clauses that they claimed were a power grab by their heads teachers.

The Schools Bill will also target illegally operating schools and establish compulsory registers to identify children who are not receiving an education.

Robin Walker and Will Quince will not be able to assist Ms. Donelan with this task. The children's ministers and school's ministers resigned on Wednesday.

Ms. Donelan has a wealth of experience in higher education and was appointed universities minister in February 2020.

She attended Cheshire state school and was the first of her family to attend university.

Chippenham MP has stated that university was a "springboard", which provided opportunities for her. She explained that this is why she is focused upon "quality of outcomes" for students.

She has already made the following announcements for this year:

Ms. Donelan will also need to pass the Higher Education Bill through Parliament. This bill will require universities to provide protection for freedom of speech on campuses.

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