Huw Lewis has been appointed as the new Education Minister. Leighton Andrews resigned from the role after he was criticised for supporting a primary school in his constituency - against his own policy of closures due to surplus places.
The reshuffle caused by Leighton Andrews' resignation has led to a new role in cabinet for Huw Lewis and a promotion to cabinet for Jeff Cuthbert. In addition, two new deputy minister, Vaughan Gething and Ken Skates, join the Welsh Government for the first time.
The new government in full is as follows
Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM First Minister
Edwina Hart AM Minister for Economy, Science & Transport
Mark Drakeford AM Minister for Health & Social Services
Jeff Cuthbert AM Minister for Communities & Tackling Poverty
Lesley Griffiths AM Minister for Local Government & Government Business
Jane Hutt AM Minister for Finance
John Griffiths AM Minister for Culture & Sport
Huw Lewis AM Minister for Education & Skills
Carl Sargeant AM Minister for Housing & Regeneration
Alun Davies AM Minister for Natural Resources & Food
Gwenda Thomas AM Deputy Minister for Social Services
Ken Skates AM Deputy Minister for Skills & Technology
Vaughan Gething AM Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty
Reaction has been swift to Huw Lewis' appointment as the new Education Minister, with teaching unions and opposition politicians welcoming his appointment but warning him about the task ahead.
We welcome Mr Lewis to the vitally important role when the education system in Wales faces its greatest challenge for decades. There is an immense amount of work to be done as we continue to improve our schools and colleges and make them the best in the world. We will need a minister who is prepared to listen but also prepared to make tough decisions. ATL has always been a critical friend of the Welsh Government and we look forward to working with Mr. Lewis to achieve the lasting transformation our young people deserve.
– Dr. Philip Dixon, Director of ATL Cymru
While I disagreed with many of Leighton Andrews’ policy decisions, I pay tribute to his unashamed desire to raise standards after a decade of decline. His absence from Carwyn Jones’ Government leaves the Cabinet far weaker without the only Minister with the drive to actually do anything. After years of damning results and reports about poor literacy and numeracy standards, we need a bold vision to empower teachers and introduce a well-resourced focus on equipping our young people with the skills and qualifications which are highly sought after by employers.
– Shadow Education Minister Angela Burns AM
One of the Minister’s first tasks must be to confirm there will be no in-year cut in the revenue allocated within their department. Plaid Cymru believes that, in education, it is all about delivery, and it is time that we saw results. We are looking forward to the PISA results later this year [which make international comparisons of schools' performance] and to seeing improvements in our national performance. We also need to see improvements in numeracy and literacy in all ages across Wales.
– Plaid Cymru Education Spokesperson Simon Thomas AM
We welcome the appointment of Huw Lewis as the new Minister for Education and very much look forward to working closely with him in the future. There are a number of challenges facing the education sector over the coming weeks, months and years and it is important that they are tackled with consensus and conviction.
"There will no doubt be areas where we agree with the Minister and those where we disagree. What is important is that there is a relationship where that debate can take place in a healthy environment. We are sure that the Minister will seek to ensure that the expertise of teaching unions, and other important voices, are all part of his thinking.
"We very much look forward to meeting the Minister at the earliest opportunity to discuss the current state of play in education, to hear his thinking about what direction of travel he wishes to see education develop and how we can work together with the Welsh Government in partnership in future."
Opposition leader Andrew RT Davies has claimed that Leighton Andrews had to resign after first campaigning against a reduction in services at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital and then urging Rhondda Cynon Taff Council to look again at plans to close a school in his constituency.
After the failure of Carwyn Jones to endorse his Education Minister’s position during my questions to him today, it was inevitable that he had to go. The actions of the Education Minister - both over the Royal Glamorgan Hospital and now school closures - called into question not only the Education Minister’s judgement, but that of the First Minister himself.
– Leader of the Opposition Andrew RT Davies AM
Plaid Cymru's education spokesperson Simon Thomas had already called for the Education Minister to lose his role in deciding appeals against school closures on the grounds he had damaged his impartiality.
The Education Minister’s long-held position on school surplus places has been undermined by his actions and this undermines the Welsh Government as a whole. [His resignation] is the correct decision to take when collective cabinet responsibility has been abdicated and you find yourself arguing against your own policies.
– Plaid Cymru Education Spokesperson Simon Thomas AM