Chair nominations for Education Committee

The nominations for Select Committee Chairs ran from 4-10 June and the ballot will be on Wednesday 17 June from 10am to 5pm. On this page you can find the full list of nominees for the Education Committee, the Committee Chair will be a member of the Conservative Party.

Nominated by (own party) 

Michelle Donelan, John Howell, Mr Nick Hurd, Boris Johnson, Richard Harrington, Richard Benyon, David Mowat, Sir Eric Pickles, Chris Heaton-Harris, Wendy Morton, Victoria Atkins, Charlotte Leslie, Jake Berry, Jeremy Lefroy, James Morris

Nominated by (other parties)

Stephen Twigg, Kate Green, Ms Gisela Stuart, Mr Iain Wright, Valerie Vaz


I have served on the Education Select Committee for five years, established and led the APPG on School Governance and Leadership, and, throughout the last Parliament, promoted the skills agenda, especially in connection with manufacturing and engineering.

Outside Parliament, I have been a longstanding school and college governor, occasional university visiting lecturer, key proponent of University Technical Colleges, and a regular contributor to publications on education policy on such matters as governance and school self-improvement. I also established the now annual Festival of Manufacturing and Engineering in my constituency with a principle purpose of enhancing the interface between the worlds of education and industry.

My interest in education has never wavered since serving on a Local Education Authority, 1989-93. This has helped me to build ongoing professional relationships with a whole range of individuals in school leadership, unions, teachers, leaders of relevant ‘think tanks’, and, local and central government.

Without prejudging the thoughts of the still to be elected members, I see a possible theme to underpin the work of the Select Committee as “education for a modern, innovative and productive economy and society”. Whatever theme is adopted, I would want to ensure the Committee feels confident in tackling issues across the whole range of education policy and in innovative ways. Ultimately, the success of the Committee will be measured by the impact of swift and incisive reactions to ‘events’ and the degree of discernible influence on emerging policies.

I value Parliament’s role in holding government to account. In addition to my work on the Education Select Committee, I also served on the Environmental Audit Committee; on both I helped to formulate cross-party reports challenging government and agency assumptions, policy priorities and administrative performance. The regular sessions with OFSTED should be augmented by careful analysis of data and the views of professional bodies. In addition, the implementation of policy must be checked when necessary and an early line of inquiry might be on the introduction of free school meals.

In addition to regular and often short inquiries, I would plan for more forward thinking projects to tackle either long-standing concerns or policy areas where new thinking is required. In no particular order, such inquiries would address the ‘productivity gap’ in terms of career preparation and skills (possibly in conjunction with the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee); strengthening accountability of academies and free schools; restructuring the school funding formula; child protection with a special focus on improving agency cooperation; role and responsibilities of the relatively new Regional Commissioners; and, a wide ranging study of strategies for “Early Years”.

I am rigorously independent, always determined to ensure all members of a team feel properly involved, keen to promote efficient and timely working practices, respectful of all views, and believe in generating a thoughtful, purposeful and informed method of working. I have chaired many committees and bodies so I appreciate the value of transparency, fairness and integrity in all aspects of the role.

Relevant interests declared

Member of Education Board of Wild Search (search, selection, advisory). Unpaid.

Nominated by (own party)

Stephen Hammond, Mr Keith Simpson, Crispin Blunt, Mrs Flick Drummond, Nicola Blackwood, Mrs Caroline Spelman, Mr Gary Streeter, Mrs Cheryl Gillan, Robert Neill, Sir Oliver Heald, Caroline Ansell, Mr Owen Paterson, Karl McCartney, Mrs Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Dr Sarah Wollaston

Nominated by (other parties)

Sarah Champion, Stephen Pound, Mark Durkan, Pat Glass, Norman Lamb

Relevant interests declared

Adviser to the National Fostering Agency
Chairman of the Mindful Policy Group (unremunerated)


  • In 18 years in Parliament I have served on the Environmental Audit and Home Affairs Select Committees and as Children’s Minister appeared in front of Education, Home Affairs, Justice and Lords committees on numerous occasions. I have experience from both sides of the committee desk.
  • As shadow minister from 2001-2010 I led for the Opposition on every bill dealing with children from Adoption to Child Protection. I chaired the ground-breaking ‘No More Blame Game’ Commission on child protection social work.
  • As Minister for Children 2010-12 I initiated major reforms in adoption, looked after children, child protection and social work that are now having a significant impact. I also spent a week of recess each year out in the field shadowing social workers and youth work professionals.
  • My most important achievement as Minister was to launch the Government’s Child Sexual Exploitation Action Plan in 2011 before the issue took on its current prominence, and was the first to press for the overarching inquiry on historic child sexual abuse.
  • I continue to champion children’s issues from the backbenches particularly around mental health, child abuse and early intervention. I chair the 1001 Critical Days APPG which produced the ‘Making Great Britons’ report. I chair the Parent & Infant Project charity providing attachment support for parents and babies in children’s centres.
  • I was an officer of the APPGs for Children, Runaway Children and Youth and a founding member of the Autism APPG. I am an ambassador for youth charity Ambition and chaired the commission reporting on the role of youth work in schools.
  • I have been a school governor specialising in special educational needs. I also established the Eco, Young & Engaged (EYE) project to spread environmental best practice amongst local schools and this is now being extended throughout Sussex.

The previous Select Committee covered a lot of ground keeping up scrutiny of the Government’s extensive and fast moving school reforms. We must continue to shine that spotlight across academies, free schools and all the new structures in particular to make sure all our children are benefitting and the taxpayer is getting value for money. Are the changes to GCSE’s and ‘A’ levels working for everyone and is the pupil premium really being focussed on those most in need to help them compete on a level playing field?

The quality of mental health support, healthy living, the Olympic legacy for school sport and relationship and sex education are all areas that the committee has looked at previously but often progress remains disappointing and the Committee needs to scrutinise developments here too.

Above all the committee must remember it has responsibility for children’s social care as well as schooling. The Department is responsible for some of our most vulnerable children who are in care or have been the victims of child abuse and they need and deserve equal airtime from the Select Committee.

I believe I have the experience and commitment to give the strength of leadership the Select Committee needs in all these areas.

Nominated by (own party) 

Mr Simon Burns, Dr Julian Lewis, Rebecca Harris, Andrew Bingham, Maria Caulfield, Mr Nigel Evans, Bob Stewart, Gareth Johnson, Chris White, Stephen Metcalfe, Andrew Griffiths, Sir Nicholas Soames, Mark Garnier, Heather Wheeler, Mrs Maria Miller

Nominated by (other parties)

Alison McGovern, Mary Glindon, Dr Alan Whitehead, Ian Paisley, Kevin Barron


"Caroline pushes representatives from the sector to provide her with clear evidence and examples to support their arguments and is never afraid to ask awkward questions." Clare Bull - Ambitious About Autism

I am very pleased so many people have chosen to endorse my candidacy to be Chair of the Education Select Committee.  I have spent the last 5 years working with organisations like Ambitious About Autism, the Girl Guides and the YMCA, as well as having served on the Education Select Committee for the last year.
It is imperative the Committee has a chair with experience, who has proven themselves to be committed to the issues, has challenged the Government when necessary, and is non-partisan and independent minded.

I have a proven commitment to education and young people. As well as the organisations identified above, I am Chair of the Be Real Campaign, which is dedicated to making young people more confident and content in themselves.  Education is about more than GCSEs, it is about developing well rounded individuals who have the courage to look the world in the face and go and achieve to the very best of their ability. I am also an FE college governor and have a particular interest in the 16-18 sector. I employ an apprentice in my office and appreciate what a brilliant opportunity that has been for her and us!

I have a long commitment to PSHE in schools, and have worked closely with the PSHE Association.  Young people need confidence in order to succeed in life, and I have demonstrated in my work that this is a real passion of mine. I think P.S.H.E should be a mandatory part of the curriculum, and deployed in such a way that it gives young people essential life skills and an ability to adapt to whatever the world throws at them.

On the aim of the Education Select Committee

The Education Select Committee should continue to promote high standards within schools and not be afraid to tackle difficult subjects. Our recent reports into Extremism in Schools, the performance of both converter and sponsored Academies, and apprenticeships and traineeships for 16 - 19 year olds have put the spotlight on some areas where there is clearly more to do. I also believe we need to look closely at the impact EHC Plans are having on young people with special educational needs, and whether they are delivering the improvements those of us who sat on the Children and Families Bill had hoped.

My candidacy for Chair of this important committee has been endorsed by numerous professionals from the education and voluntary sectors including Rosi Prescott, the Chief Executive of Central YMCA and Elli Moody who called me a “fantastic champion” of the Girl Guides.  Alongside the teaching profession, education experts, training providers, foster carers and looked after children, and those with a remit in SEN there is a huge job to be done, working across Party lines to make sure the Select Committee holds Government to account and ensures policies are being delivered effectively.