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Lucy Powell: 10 facts about the new shadow education secretary

14th September 2015

Lucy Powell has been confirmed as the new shadow education secretary. Here’s what we know so far:

  1. Powell was born in Manchester. This parallels with two Labour education secretaries – Ellen Wilkinson, who served in the 1945 Labour cabinet, and Estelle Morris, who served under Tony Blair.
  2. She was born 10 October 1974, and is aged 40. The average age of an education secretary when taking office is 49. Nicky Morgan, the current education secretary, is 42.
  3. Powell attended Parrs Wood High School, a comprehensive, and Xaverian College in Manchester. If Powell became education secretary, she would be only the third ever to have attended a comprehensive.
  4. She studied at Somerville College, Oxford University – as did two education secretaries, Margaret Thatcher and Shirley Williams.
  5. Somewhat unusually Powell studied chemistry. Education secretaries most often study history or law. The last education secretary to study a science, and the only one to study chemistry, was Margaret Thatcher. She became education secretary in 1970.
  6. Powell has been an MP for less than three years. She won a by-election in November 2012 triggered by the previous office holder standing to be a police commissioner.
  7. She is a ‘career politician’ – having worked on the 1997 general election then working in MP’s offices and on campaigns. In 2010 she managed Ed Miliband’s campaign to become leader and was vice-chair of the 2015 general election campaign.
  8. Her hansard voting record on education is thin:
  9. She was a junior shadow education minister between October 2013 and November 2014. She specialised in early years and was involved in several heated exchanges with junior coalition education minister Liz Truss.
  10. 5 English words rhyme with Powell. So we can look forward to headlines such as ‘Time to throw the Powell in’ and ‘Early Powell movements’

Read more on the Schools Week website