Robert Goodwill is the new minister of State for the DfE, which means that he has replaced Edward Timpson as the person responsible for SEND. But what is his background and what can we expect from him?
About Robert Goodwill:
The Government tells us the following about Robert Goodwill on their website:
Robert was educated at the Quaker Bootham School in York, and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture in 1979.
Robert was elected as a Member of the European Parliament in 1999, serving in Brussels and Strasbourg until the 2004 European election. He was Deputy Leader of the Conservative MEPs during his term. He was elected to the House of Commons at the 2005 general election for Scarborough and Whitby.
After spending 18 months as a member of the transport select committee, he was appointed as a government whip in 2006 and promoted to the post of Shadow Roads Minister in the transport team in 2007. He was re-elected at the 2010 general election and appointed to the government as a whip with responsibility for HM Treasury and Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs business.
Robert Goodwill served as Minister of State at the Department for Transport from December 2015 until July 2016. Robert was previously Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport.
Career outside politics
Robert has been a farmer (since 1979) of 250 acres of land near Malton, which has been in his family since 1850. He has been the managing director of Mowthorpe Ltd since 1995, which offers environmentally friendly burials in the North Yorkshire countryside.
Robert is married and has 2 sons and a daughter.
What our friends at nasen have to say about his appointment:
In a recent article, our friends at nasen said:
It has been decided to combine the position of minister for vulnerable children and families with part of Caroline Dineage’s previous position as minister for women, equalities and early years. This makes Robert Goodwill the minister for early years and childcare as well as vulnerable children and families.
This could have some potential benefits, including a more joined-up approach between early years and SEND; if this works well, then it could help to improve the early identification and support of children’s needs and may mean that funding is more focused on the crucial early years. However, it does mean that Robert Goodwill has a very large remit, with the danger that SEND is not at the top of the list, especially as the entitlement to 30-hours free childcare comes in this September.
Robert Goodwill’s background is in the European parliament, in the Department for Transport and the Home Office. We hope he takes the time and trouble to listen to experts both within and outside of the Department for Education.
We look forward to seeing how things progress with our new Minister for State – good luck Robert!