Gavin Williamson has been fired as Education Secretary in a reshuffle of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Cabinet.
Williamson has faced regular criticism of his handling of the education brief during the Covid-19 pandemic, and it was widely expected that he would be removed from his post.
The minister had come under fire over the pandemic-enforced shutting of schools during the first national lockdown, and for the issues caused by assigning A-level and GCSE grades algorithmically.
In July 2020, he announced plans to boost the quality of higher technical education, which would see the introduction of the T-level qualification.
His tenure was also marked by calls to enforce free speech codes in universities following the de-platforming of numerous high-profile individuals, including history professor Selina Todd and former Home Secretary Amber Rudd.
In a tweet, Williamson said: “It has been a privilege to serve as education secretary since 2019.
“Despite the challenges of the global pandemic, I’m particularly proud of the transformational reforms I’ve led in post-16 education: in further education colleges, our Skills agenda, apprenticeships and more.”
In a statement, Labour’s shadow education secretary Kate Green said that Williamson had “failed children and young people, their parents, and our hard-working education staff throughout one of the most testing periods in our history”.
She said: “Two years of exams chaos and staff abandoned, unsupported, and demoralised. That is Gavin Williamson’s legacy.”
Williamson has previously served as Defence Secretary and Chief Whip under Prime Minister Theresa May. He was appointed in July 2019 after Boris Johnson took over as Prime Minister, replacing Damien Hinds.
It is not known if he will be offered another post in the reshuffle.