Education & Family

Profile: Nicky Morgan

Nicky Morgan Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Many parents and teachers will be wondering who the new education secretary is

As the education world takes in the news that Michael Gove is leaving the helm of the Department for Education, all eyes are on his successor.

Nicky Morgan was appointed education secretary by David Cameron as part of a major cabinet reshuffle.

But after the high-profile and well-known face of Mr Gove, parents and teachers may be forgiven for asking: "Who's she?"

So who is the woman following in Mr Gove's footsteps?

Ms Morgan, 41, is the Conservative MP for Loughborough.

She grew up in Surrey and attended the fee-paying Surbiton High School. She went on to study law at St Hugh's College, Oxford.

Ms Morgan worked as a solicitor, specialising in corporate law and advising a range of private and public companies from 1994 until her election as MP in 2010.

She stood for the same seat in the 2005 general election, but lost to Labour candidate Andy Reed.

In April this year, Ms Morgan became financial secretary to the Treasury and minister for women and equalities.

She was tipped for a full cabinet post in this latest reshuffle and on Tuesday was given the senior cabinet post as secretary of state for education, while continuing her role as minister for women.

'Matter of conscience'

Ms Morgan was one of 175 MPs from across the political spectrum who voted against the motion for gay marriage.

At the time of the vote in February, she said her decision was a matter of conscience and many more of her constituents had asked her to vote against gay marriage than for.

Image caption Ms Morgan's husband, Jonathan, is an architect and Conservative councillor

"There have been plenty of little changes down the years but what's never been changed is the fact that marriage is between a man and a woman," she said then.

"I totally support civil partnerships and that same-sex relationships are recognised in law. But marriage, to me, is between a man and a woman."

Ms Morgan is married to Jonathan Morgan, an architect. Her husband has also been Conservative councillor for the Loughborough Outwoods ward since July 2000.

The couple have a son who was born in 2008.

Upbeat about the task ahead

Ms Morgan takes up her post at a time of unrest in the teaching profession.

Last week, members of the National Union of Teachers joined a public sector national strike to protest about changes to teachers' pay, pensions and conditions.

The industrial action follows a string of strikes by teachers concerned about their pay and conditions.

However, in a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, the new education secretary sounded upbeat about the task ahead.

She said: "I am delighted to become education secretary and continue as minister for women and equalities.

Image caption Striking teachers marched through central London last Thursday

"I know that education can be the single greatest transformer of lives. It is also a crucial part of this government's long-term plan.

"I look forward immensely to working alongside parents, teachers and schools to ensure we have world-class schools and the skills that will get our young people great jobs."

Teacher unions have expressed a desire to work with the new secretary of state and say they hope for a more "constructive relationship".

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, cautioned against too much change.

"For the new ministerial team, the key priority is to give schools and colleges time to implement the large number of reforms already under way," he said.

"The temptation for a new minister is to make their mark, but the last thing students and teachers need is another raft of reforms."

But after a meteoric rise to a senior cabinet post, Ms Morgan is unlikely to take a back seat.

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