Nadhim Zahawi, whose star rose during the pandemic as Minister of Vaccines, will become Secretary of Education after Gavin Williamson 's term ends.
Zahawi was promoted by Boris Johnson after winning praise for the vaccine program Efficient and hassle-free Covid, a style that could serve him well in an education sector shaken by Williamson 's more confrontational style. Theresa May appointed him junior education minister and he was moved to become industry minister 18 months later. At the end of 2020, Zahawi was chosen by Johnson to be Minister of Vaccine Deployment - a role under high pressure given the enormous importance placed on rapid vaccine distribution as the government's primary weapon against Covid-19.
Zahawi was credited with the speed of the initial program, which for a time gave Johnson a noticeable boost in the polls.
Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP who chairs the House of Commons education committee, hailed Zahawi as someone who "could find mangoes in Antarctica "And revitalize government education policies.
" It may be the kind of organization that the ministry of Education needs. Maybe ithe need for a big overhaul and a brilliant organizer, which he has shown as the vaccine minister of which he is very capable.
"There is a huge bin and I think Nadhim will take care of it," Halfon told the BBC.
The most pressing problem facing the new education secretary faces is next month's full spending review.
As the Williamson star declined, he had to hard to sway the treasury on funding, but Zahawi can do better uh, especially on the thorny issues of crumbling school buildings, teacher pay, funding for higher education, and loans for tuition fees .
Mary Bousted, Deputy Secretary General of the National Education Union, said: “The full expenditure review is in a few weeks. The new Secretary of State must beBe a strong advocate for schools and colleges to receive the resources and funding they need to support the resumption of education for all children and youth. There can be no higher priority for the future of our nation.
One big problem is to repair the lost learning suffered by children during the pandemic. Sir Kevan Collins, the government's catch-up czar, dropped dramatically earlier this year , accusing No 10 of failing to fund his £ 15bn proposals.
Collins said the issue must be the top priority of the next Education Secretary upon taking office.
" Deliver a broad plan of stimulus remains a top priority. This will not happen naturally. We need to make this happen. We need to support schools. This has to be the number one priority, ”Collins said.
There are also a range of difficult decisions to be made, including how to score and attribute the results of next summer's exams, which are just over six months away for the grade 11 and 13 cohorts.
Both seasons Williamson's failed exams mean the acceleration rating of 2020 and 2021 will need to be tamed eventually, which will create potentially negative headlines for the government.
Born in Baghdad to Kurdish parents, who fled Iraq for the UK when he was nine, Zahawi is one of the wealthiest MPs in the Commons, as co-founder of the pollsters YouGov had interests in other fields such as oil before becoming minister.
Zahawi 's BS in Chemical Engineering from University College London sets him apart as a break with Oxbridge and the humanities graduates who more regularly hold the top DfE position. But unlike Williamson, who has attended state high school, Zahawi attended King 's College School in Wimbledon, where fees are over £ 20,000 a year.
Zahawi has been the sixth secretary of education. Since 2014, after Nicky Morgan, Justine Greening, Damian Hinds and Williamson in the role since the reign of Michael Gove, suggesting that the post is not a direct route to a higher political post.