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What can we expect for education from the new alliance between the Conservative and Democratic Unionist parties?

14 June 2017

Following the re-election of a minority Conservative Government, Theresa May has set about forming her cabinet. Following the reshuffle, Justine Greening has been reappointed as the Secretary of State for Education. However, there are now questions over whether the new government will be able to deliver on the Conservative Party’s Manifesto commitments. Of particular interest will be whether the Conservatives will be able to successfully push through their plans on Education, especially in relation to grammar schools.

Given its minority position, a ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement with the DUP is unlikely to assist the Conservatives to push through their agenda on education matters, following the implementation of the “English votes for English laws”. Education is a matter which has been devolved to the other areas of the UK and consideration about education matters relating to England only, will be made exclusively by English MPs at committee stage in the House of Commons. As such there is the theoretical potential for the Conservative Party to still be able to command a majority on any grammar school vote. However, it remains the case that many Conservative backbenchers are opposed to these specific plans.

Accordingly we will now need to await the Queen’s Speech to see which of the manifesto proposals relating to education the current coalition will be seeking to press ahead with and whether they will be in a much more diluted format.

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