Tom Shinner (inset) and Michael Gove

Michael Gove has appointed yet another Tory to a senior and supposedly impartial role in the education sector — by promoting his 28 year-old policy adviser to be his department’s £105,000-a-year director of strategy.

Tom Shinner’s qualifications for the top civil service role include experience as a junior management consultant, setting up one of Gove’s beloved free schools and, errrr, working for the implementation unit at Tory HQ.

The role would normally go to an experienced senior civil servant. Shinner’s predecessor as director had a stint as principle private secretary, two deputy director positions and a sabbatical as an education specialist at the World Bank under her belt before being promoted to director of strategy.

Shinner now trousers £36,000 more than Gove’s special advisers. Indeed, there are only six SpAds in the whole of SW1 that are paid more than him: one in Nick Clegg’s office and five working for Cameron.

Asked why he had given up a job with McKinsey to teach (and advise Gove) Shinner told the Economist:

“Err, maybe something to do with idealism,”

Yeah, something like that.

  1. Since our lovely government are making people work till they’re in their late 60s, shouldn’t Gove have employed someone a bit older than this guy? Someone with a bit more experience of how tough life can be might have been more suitable, IMHO.

  2. Typical! Gove has NO qualifications that would equip him for his role so, why not continue the precedent and put another unqualified plonker in a top position?
    Cameron just wants YES MEN in top positions. Isn’t that what all Dictators do?

  3. Ciaran Murtagh says:

    I think the responsibility for educating our children should be given to an independent, non political (with a capital ‘P’ at least) body that is not beholden on the whims and ideologies of a particular political party (regardless of colour). Flip flopping and inconsistency in policy every time there’s a new man in charge does more damage to our children’s education than any incompetent teacher. Consistency and long term ring fenced planning that exists outside the political system will do more to help our children than any new advisor. If they can give similar powers to the Bank of England in the financial sector, why can’t they create a new body to do the same in the educational one.

  4. what a load of idiots we have in gov. positions the atrocities they have committed to people in our fair country is beyond belief ,causing neighbour to go against neighbour,disabled people condemkned by gov.puppet atos ,how many suicides this government has caused,forcing people to work for free (no company is going to pay a wage if they can get free labour,think about it)now they risk an already damaged education system to go even further down the drain….I was right to give them the name ConDem….. ha condem by name condemning their nature….what else are the going to distroy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Balthazar Wiginstein says:

    I sure have heard this new Shinner bloke is a spiffing chap! Truly the cream of the crop. Nothing like a good young fellow to come in and ruffle some feathers so to speak.

  6. Funny how everyone else here seem to be experts on the matter. Normally you find that those “elder” people in society who complain about “young whipper snappers” that are put in positions of authority are actually a little bit bitter. IMHO our youth are the future of our country and I am happy that we now have representation for them in an advisory role. No-one is better placed to comment on their education than those with recent experience of it! Age (people here seem to be confusing this with experience) doesn’t always equal success and this to me is a refreshing change to bring Mr. Shinner to an advisory role. Definition of insanity=doing the same things over again and expecting outcomes to change! Give the guy a chance…

  7. Spit it out then, if he didn’t leave to become a teacher and political activist for idealism why did he leave?

    Oh wait, you can’t substantiate any claim he is power hungry so you leave it up to the mind of the reader have cast dispersion.

    You even seem to suggest he did it for the money for the first half of the article, which is absurd given the job he left behind.

    Why don’t you stick to criticising Gove’s decision making and leave the faint and shameless attempt at character assassination of a young man you know next to nothing about aside.

  8. Mr Shinner taught me during my time at Grammar school, I assure you possesses more than the relevant experience to enhance the British education system. A man a student can truly identify with and aspire to match in his academic achievements, he will be an asset to institution he becomes a part of.

  9. Actually Tom Shinner used to be a teacher (surely the only experience you really need to be an advisor on education), and he taught at my school. Doesn’t matter how young he is he would be perfect for the job!

  10. Mr Shinner was a great teacher and a great guy when he taught me, I knew there would be plenty of comments from DCGS as soon as I saw this

  11. Mr Shinner is a fantastic, intelligent but down to earth guy. Which most policians seem to lack. After his first hand experience with the education system, there are few in the position who would do as good a job of advising then Mr Shinner. Best of luck to him

  12. In teaching terms by his age he would not even be on the upper scale(something designed to reward experience and leadership qualities). Would a school employ a headteacher with this experience? This must be a joke appointment, is if April 1st?

  13. Tom Shinner always seemed to understand students and have wisdom far beyond his years (I speak as another student of his) and although there may be some complaints about him, they come from people who see his age and assume some preferential treatment, the man himself is an inspiration and a true talent at assessing and tackling the needs of students. As many have said above- and I sincerely hope he is reading these comments- he mentored me through my A levels and I could not have wished for a more reliable, hard-working and genuine educator.

  14. Tom Shinner was my history teacher five years ago at Dr Challoner’s Grammar School, and he really hasn’t done badly for himself since – it may or may not be a good decision, but I’m happy for him. He has worked extremely hard, and was always deserving of a high place in office, just probably not this early on.

  15. Tom Shinner used to teach at Dr Challoners Grammar School and being one of his former pupils I can vouch for him being a sound guy who has no doubt done well for himself. The fact that he is younger than what people are used to illustrates how our political system won’t trust you till your grey-ing and getting on a bit. Well done Mr Shinner!!!

  16. Will be an excellent adviser, some classic comments from ill informed, prejudiced people, there’s a reason why you don’t have his job. Best teacher I ever had.

  17. I have had the pleasure to be taught by this man and i find thats he’s by far one of the smartest, most logical and down to earth people. It’s good to see that the government will be getting a younger mind in. Good luck Sir!

  18. Possibly the smartest person ive ever met. Will be a breath of fresh air in comparisson to others being pipped for the job. Too quick to see his youth as a negative, ignoring the fact he will be better than a 50 yr old muppet whos been out of education for 30 years!

  19. A wonderful guy whose heart is genuinely in the right place. Is taking on the role for the love of teaching, as opposed to being a career politician. Shame there are more Dianne Abbotts than Tom Shinners

  20. Lottie Dexter II. Crony appointment. Pal of Policy Exchange bloke at Greenwich Free School. Policy Exchange was set up by… Michael Gove. And it’s got people on the DfE board.

    This is a very senior strategy role. You don’t get appointed to these on the basis you’ve done a good job as a teacher and knocked about McKinsey. You need to have done something similar in eg an LA or a quango.

    In the unlikely event that this chap really has given proof he’s the man for the job, he doesn’t get the same salary that a senior proven bloke does.

  21. As a 27 year-old who has done a bit of teaching I’m sure he’ll bring his vast wealth of knowledge and experience to the job. And well worth the salary.

    And the conservatives complain about their opponents wasting taxpayers’ cash. Jesus…

  22. Please tell me the people saying “he’s a great teacher and deserves it” aren’t serious.

    If they are then Mr Shinner hasn’t taught them much.

    Do a stakeholder analysis.
    How many stakeholders does he have any experience of?
    Worked in a grammar school. And helped set up a free school.
    The vast majority of schools aren’t like either of those.
    His experience in each is tiny. Not even a complete governor’s term at the free school.
    Experience of comprehensive or primary schools, the vast majority of schools- zilch.
    Academic research done? Zilch.
    Curriculum experience? Zilch.
    Teacher training knowledge? Zilch.
    Dealings with trade unions? Zilch.
    Inspection experience? Zilch.
    Experience of other school systems? Zilch.
    Expertise of broader social issues? Zilch.

    He shouldn’t even have applied for the job, let alone got it.

  23. So, being an ok teacher gets you parachuted into a high paying senior government role? I’m sure there are a few hundred people better suited to it, unless it was really all about connections.

  24. It’s HILARIOUS the deluge of former grammar school kids descending on the comments section entirely spontaneously to tell us what a good job Shinner did as a teacher (thus QED will do as a senior civil servant).

    Touching to see their devotion to the old master. A*s all round, chaps!

  25. Since when has the ability to get a few candidates a respectable A level grade in a selective school – arguably one of the least challenging exercises in secondary education today! – qualified anyone to be highly paid government education adviser?

  26. As well as being clearly too inexperienced to qualify for this role, it’s interesting to note he’s removed his Tory Head office position from his LinkedIn. I fail to see how he’s ticked all the competencies AND demonstrated more experience than those 20-30 years his senior. Appalling. He might very well be a good teacher, but that DOES NOT qualify him above other candidates with more experience. This is an indefensible appointment.

  27. I recommend googling ‘salary engagement manager mckinsey’ or ‘salary mckinsey partner’ before putting $105k out of context

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