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Louisa Gothard
Louisa Gothard
Senior Solicitor, Head of Family Law
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New Education Department and a change of Cabinet Ministers
Date:13 MAY 2010

Michael GoveThe Department for Children, Schools and Families has changed its name to the Department for Education following the new Government taking office on 11 May.  

Conservative MP Michael Gove (pictured left) has been appointed as Education Secretary replacing Labour's Ed Balls.

According to a press officer at the new Department for Education, the change is in name only and the department will retain the same responsibilities of the DCSF.

Mr Gove, a former Times journalist, joined the shadow cabinet as children, schools and families spokesman at the age of 39. He was the head of the Policy Exchange think tank for three years before winning the safe seat of Surrey Heath.

In an introductory email sent to his staff, Mr Gove said he wants the Department to refocus on its core purpose of supporting teaching and learning.

"School reform will be our priority but schools only succeed when society is strong, which is why we will also strengthen and reform children's services," Mr Gove wrote.

At the Conservative annual conference last October Mr Gove said children need to be taken out of unstable situations earlier and placed for adoption, a policy supported by the NSPCC.

A notice on the Department for Education's website states that "all statutory guidance and legislation linked to from this site continues to reflect the current legal position unless indicated otherwise, but may not reflect Government policy."

Other appointments relevant to family lawyers are:

- Ken Clarke QC as Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor.

- Theresa May as Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality. In 2001 and 2002, she voted against gays and lesbians being able to adopt. In 2008 she voted against legislation which removed the need for a father in lesbians undergoing IVF treatment. However in 2004, she voted in favour of civil partnerships. 

- Iain Duncan Smith as Work and Pensions Secretary. He set up the Centre for Social Justice think-tank which produced a report last November aimed at "strengthening marriage and reducing family breakdown".

- Dominic Grieve QC as Attorney-General. Mr Grieve has been drawing up the Conservative's plans to reform legal aid.

- Tim Loughton as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (junior minister) for Children. He has been shadow children's minister since November 2003.

For a full list of the new Cabinet Ministers click here.

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