On Wednesday 24 June, Boris Johnson took the office of Prime Minister and since then has enacted a dramatic overhaul of his cabinet. One notable change for those in the education sector, was Gavin Williamson’s appointment as Education Secretary – a move that will undoubtedly alter aspects of the education landscape.
Gavin Williamson is the successor of Damian Hinds MP, a Secretary of State which arguably put the discussion of education technology back on the agenda. As it stands, we know that Williamson has big plans for the sector including to boost and level school funding across Britain and place technical and further education on a greater parity of esteem as A Levels and higher education.
Jo Johnson’s return to the Department for Education, sharing his portfolio with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, will also be important for many in the sector. Although his wider plans are yet to be revealed, we do know that he looks to increase FE funding for apprenticeships and carry on with the Government’s flagship policy of T Levels.
Alongside the Secretary of State and Jo Johnson MP, there are three other appointments of Kemi Badenoch as Children’s Minister, while Nick Gibb MP and Lord Agnew remained in their posts as Minister of State for Schools and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System.
For many, a cabinet reshuffle opens new opportunities to place key issues at the forefront of the Government’s agenda. With new Ministerial appointments and brief allocations come the possibility of renewed conversations with the Ministers.
But, how can you ensure your expertise and knowledge is shared with the right people? Here, we provide our top tips to make your voice heard with the key education influencers.
Understanding the new landscape
For those working within the education sector, in any capacity, it is vital to stay ahead of any political shifts in education policy. Understanding the core of the government’s education stance will ensure that you can effectively link your organisation’s strategy to government initiatives. It may seem a daunting task as the changes are rapid and comprehensive, but it will be the value-add that positions your brand at the helm of the sector.
If you hope to gain traction for your organisation at the higher levels of government, and within the Department for Education (DfE), you will want to align your messaging with their priorities. Monitoring is key to staying ahead of the current political shifts and will prevent your organisation from falling behind the political curve.
Subsequently, the new appointments and policy shifts from the government make it an opportune time to conduct a public relations (PR) and public affairs (PA) audit. This will help your brand stay in line with policy and vastly increase the chances of having your organisation’s voice heard at the highest levels. It can also ensure your brand’s profile is being flagged in front of the right people, which will be vital to sustained relationship building.
Influencing the new landscape
It can prove difficult to stay up to date with the rapid changes that occur with cabinet reshuffles, especially when they are as wide reaching as the recent appointments. However, keeping your stakeholder maps updated lies at the heart of holding influence. Knowing who is in charge of what, and at all times, enables you to stay ahead of any policy movement and build strong connections with the people that will be directly impacting education policy.
Developing sustained positive relationships with those that hold the influence is key to effective public affairs. These relationships will not just keep you in the loop about any political shifts that may impact you, they will also provide you with an influential network that trusts and respects your insight into the education sector. Additionally, aligning your brand with key figures helps build credibility amongst target stakeholders, something which can help leverage positive PR opportunities.
All of this said, where do you start? The answer can be found sooner than you think with the Conservative Party Conference right around the corner. Attendance at this year’s Party Conferences will give you a key insight into the new government’s education strategy and an unrivalled opportunity to build your networks and contacts with those that are at the forefront of rolling out the new policies that will affect you and your brand.
For more information about how our team can support you at Conference, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.