Nick Gibb

Nicolas John Gibb (born 3 September 1960) is a British politician serving as Minister of State for School Standards since 2015, and previously from 2010 to 2012. He has served at the Department for Education under Conservative Prime Ministers David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson. A member of the Conservative Party, Gibb has also served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton since 1997.


Nick Gibb

Official portrait of Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP crop 2.jpg
Gibb in 2020
Minister of State for School Standards
Assumed office
12 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Theresa May
Boris Johnson
Preceded byDavid Laws
In office
13 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byVernon Coaker
Succeeded byDavid Laws
Minister of State for Childcare, Education and School Reform
In office
15 July 2014 – 12 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byElizabeth Truss
Succeeded bySam Gyimah
Member of Parliament
for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded byConstituency created
Majority22,503 (43.9%)
Personal details
Born (1960-09-03) 3 September 1960 (age 60)
Amersham, Buckinghamshire, England
NationalityEnglish
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Michael Simmonds
RelationsRobbie Gibb (brother) Will Buxton (cousin)
Alma materCollege of St Hild and St Bede, Durham
Websitewww.nickgibb.org.uk

Nick Gibb was born in Amersham, Buckinghamshire and was educated at the College of St Hild and St Bede at the University of Durham. After unsuccessfully campaigning to become an MP in Stoke-on-Trent Central at the 1992 general election and Rotherham in the 1994 by-election, Gibb was elected to the British House of Commons for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton at the 1997 general election.

Gibb was Shadow Minister for Schools from 2005 to 2010. He was appointed as Minister of State for Schools Standards by Prime Minister David Cameron, serving from May 2010 and September 2012. After serving as a backbencher for two years, Gibb returned to government as Minister of State for School Reform in July 2014.[1][2] Gibb was promoted to his previous role as Minister of State for Schools Standards after the 2015 general election, replacing his initial successor in the Coalition government, David Laws. He retained this position during the premiership of Theresa May. He was retained as Minister of State for School Standards by May's successor, Boris Johnson. In this role he claimed only 0.2% of children are off school self isolating,[3] when the actual figure is 17%.[4]

Early lifeEdit

Nick Gibb was born in Amersham, Buckinghamshire and was educated at Bedford Modern School, Maidstone Grammar School, Roundhay School in Leeds, and Thornes House School in Wakefield.

He then attended the College of St Hild and St Bede at the University of Durham where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law in 1981.[5] Gibb was a member of the Federation of Conservative Students[6] at a time when they were influenced by radical libertarian ideas. He stood for election to the NUS committee in 1981, but only achieved a single vote after accusing the NUS of openly supporting terrorist organisations.[7] After leaving university Gibb was implicated in a scandal involving nomination papers for elections at the 1982 NUS conference in Blackpool, with Gibb accused of forging signatures to get Conservative candidates on to the ballot.[8]

In an interview regarding his education, Gibb spoke of how he believed Maidstone Grammar School to be the best. "What was good about it was that it was rigorous" he told Teachers TV in 2006. "Every lesson was rigorous, even things like music: it was taught in the same way as chemistry." Wakefield, by contrast, was "terrible" due to its lack of rigour.[9]

Upon leaving school he took a job as a handyman in a London hotel, spending his evenings in the House of Commons watching late-night debates from the public gallery.[9]

In 1982, Gibb joined NatWest as a trainee accountant, before working on Kibbutz Merom Golan in 1983. In 1984 he joined KPMG as a chartered accountant until his election to parliament.[5] He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (FCA).

Political careerEdit

Gibb worked as an election agent to Cecil Parkinson at the 1987 general election,[citation needed] and was the secretary of the Bethnal Green and Stepney Conservative Association in 1988,[citation needed] becoming its chairman the following year.[citation needed]

Gibb contested Stoke-on-Trent Central at the 1992 general election but was defeated into second place some 13,420 votes behind the sitting Labour MP Mark Fisher.[citation needed] In 1994, Gibb was selected to contest the Rotherham by-election, caused by the death of James Boyce. He finished in third place, 12,263 votes behind the winner Denis MacShane.[citation needed]

Gibb was selected to stand as the Conservative candidate for the newly created West Sussex seat of Bognor Regis and Littlehampton at the 1997 general election. Gibb won the seat with a majority of 7,321 and has remained the MP there since.[10] He made his maiden speech on 4 July 1997.[11]

OppositionEdit

Shortly after his election, Gibb joined the opposition frontbench of William Hague when he was appointed as the spokesman on trade and industry in 1997,[citation needed] before joining the social security select committee later in the year.[citation needed] The following year, in 1998 he rejoined the frontbench as a spokesman on the treasury, moving back to trade and industry in 1999.[citation needed]

Gibb was reportedly involved in the faction-fight between supporters of William Hague and Michael Portillo, the then Shadow Chancellor, as a supporter of Portillo.[12]

He was briefly a spokesman on environment, transport and the regions following the 2001 general election but resigned under the leadership of Iain Duncan Smith, reportedly because he was unhappy at his new role.[13] Michael Howard brought him back to the frontbench following the Conservative Party's defeat in the 2005 general election as a spokesman for Education and Young People. Shortly afterwards, the newly elected Conservative Party Leader, David Cameron, promoted Nick Gibb from within the Education team to shadow Minister for Schools.[10]

GovernmentEdit

In the wake of the 2010 general election and the formation of a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, Gibb was appointed Minister of State for Schools in the new Department for Education. He left the Government at a ministerial reshuffle in September 2012, but returned to the same Department, again as a Minister of State, in July 2014.[14] He was appointed to the Privy Council on 4 November 2016.

In July 2020, as Minister of State for School Standards his department oversaw the controversial[15] derivation of GCE Advanced Level grades in place of exams cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[16] The system was subsequently described as having the effect of 'people who come from areas where people have scored low are assumed to score low this year, and people who come from areas where people have scored high are assumed to score high this year.'[17] He was later confronted on the BBC Radio 4 programme Any Questions? by a student stating that Gibb had "ruined my life".[18] Gibb responded by saying: "It won't ruin your life, it will be sorted, I can assure you."[19]

ViewsEdit

Gibb is a longstanding advocate of synthetic phonics as a method of teaching children to read,[20] and is also a supporter of the motor neurone disease cause, currently[when?] being vice-chair of the All Party Motor Neurone Disease Group in parliament.[10]

Just days after being appointed as Minister for Schools in 2010, Gibb was criticised[by whom?] after leaked information suggested he had told officials at the Department of Education that he "would rather have a physics graduate from Oxbridge without a PGCE teaching in a school than a physics graduate from one of the rubbish universities with a PGCE".[21]

Personal lifeEdit

Nick Gibb is the brother of Robbie Gibb, a former PR consultant and ex-editor of the BBC's political programmes, The Daily Politics and (in an executive capacity) This Week, who was announced as Director of Communications for Prime Minister Theresa May in July 2017.[22]

In May 2015, Nick Gibb came out as gay and announced his engagement to Michael Simmonds, the chief executive of the Populus polling organisation. Having been together for 29 years they married in 2015.[23][24]

PublicationsEdit

  • Forgotten Closed Shop: Case for Voluntary Membership of Student Unions by Nicholas Gibb and David Neil-Smith, 1985, Cleveland Press ISBN 0-948194-01-4
  • Simplifying Taxes by Nick Gibb, 1987
  • Duty to Repeal by Nick Gibb, 1989, Adam Smith Institute ISBN 1-870109-71-6
  • Bucking the Market by Nick Gibb, 1990
  • Maintaining Momentum by Nick Gibb, 1992

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Minister of State for Schools". Department for Education. Archived from the original on 25 August 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2017 – via GOV.UK.
  2. ^ "Minister of State for School Reform". Department for Education. Archived from the original on 24 August 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2017 – via GOV.UK.
  3. ^ "Covid: U-turn over Focus Trust's early Christmas school closures". BBC. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  4. ^ "School Covid cases soar to hit 73% of secondaries". TES. 24 November 2020. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  5. ^ a b "Nick Gibb Biography". Conservative Party. Archived from the original on 7 June 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2009.
  6. ^ "The Federation of Conservative Students". ToryDiary. ConservativeHome. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  7. ^ "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly..." Palatinate (344): 6. 30 April 1981. Archived from the original on 11 September 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2018 – via Durham University Collections.
  8. ^ "FCS Fiddle: Durham Students Implicated in Forgeries Scandal". Palatinate (355): 1. 6 May 1982 – via Durham University Collections.
  9. ^ a b Williams, Rachel (17 May 2010). "So, who is Nick Gibb?". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 19 June 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2016. (registration required)
  10. ^ a b c "Nick Gibb". UK Parliament Biographies. UK Parliament. Archived from the original on 6 September 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2009.
  11. ^ "Hansard: 4 July 1997". Hansard. 4 July 1997. Archived from the original on 27 June 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2009.
  12. ^ John Rentoul. "An Education - John Rentoul looks at the background and political beliefs of Nick Gibb, Minister of State for Schools". Ethos Journal. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  13. ^ Glover, Julian (18 October 2001). "Tory frontbench resignations". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 10 May 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2009. (registration required)
  14. ^ "Nick Gibb MP". Department for Education. Archived from the original on 23 July 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  15. ^ Weale, Sally (10 August 2020). "Pressure grows on ministers over England A-level results 'mess'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  16. ^ Turner, Camilla (20 March 2020). "GCSE and A-Level exams cancelled: How will UK grades be calculated?". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  17. ^ "A-levels: How controversial algorithm behind moderation row works". Sky News. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  18. ^ "Any Questions? - AQ: Nick Gibb MP, Conor McGinn MP, Alison Thewliss MP, Bronwen Maddox - BBC Sounds". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  19. ^ "A-levels and GCSEs: Student tells minister 'you've ruined my life'". BBC News. 15 August 2020.
  20. ^ "Teaching of reading to be revised". BBC News. 20 March 2006. Archived from the original on 23 January 2009. Retrieved 3 July 2009.
  21. ^ Williams, Rachel (17 May 2010). "New minister Nick Gibb upsets teachers – already". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2 March 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  22. ^ Walker, Peter; Mason, Rowena (6 July 2017). "Theresa May hires BBC's Robbie Gibb as communications chief". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 6 July 2017. Retrieved 7 July 2017. (registration required)
  23. ^ Tan, Sylvia (6 June 2015). "UK schools minister Nick Gibb to marry secret partner of 29 years". Gay Star News. Archived from the original on 8 June 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  24. ^ Watt, Nicholas (6 June 2015). "Nick Gibb, schools minister, to marry partner he kept secret for 29 years". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2015.

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Constituency created
Member of Parliament for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton
1997–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Vernon Coaker
Minister of State for Schools
2010–2012
Succeeded by
David Laws
Preceded by
Elizabeth Truss
as Parliamentary Undersecretary of State
for Education and Childcare
Minister of State for School Reform
2014–2015
Position abolished
Preceded by
David Laws
Minister of State for Schools
2015–present
Incumbent