Recently re-elected MSP for Perthshire North, John Swinney, has been re-appointed as Deputy First Minister and has also been given a new ministerial role to support the country through COVID recovery.
The deputy first minister will no longer be the education secretary with his successor to be announced in coming days by the First Minister.
John Swinney said:
“Over the last five years it has been my privilege to be Scotland’s Education Secretary. I want to thank everyone involved in education for all that you do to support young people achieve their full potential especially during this difficult year.
“I am proud that we have a record number of young Scots from deprived backgrounds going to University, by August we will have doubled early learning and childcare and more young people are leaving school to go to positive destinations than when we came to office.
“Progress has been made in closing the attainment gap, we have 3000 more teachers in our schools and – due to supreme commitment by many – education has been sustained during the immense difficulties caused by Covid.
“There is more to be done to advance Scottish education, but I am proud of the strength and quality of our system. I wish my successor well and will do all I can in my new role as Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery to support those efforts.
“And to the young people of Scotland, thank you for being wonderful. It has been my privilege to meet many of you in your schools, youth groups and other places. Our country is very lucky to have you and I will continue to do all it can to create the best future for you all.”
Mr Swinney has served as Deputy First Minister since 2014 and will take responsibility for driving cross government action on Covid Recovery.
The role will see Mr Swinney mobilise the Scottish Government and wider public, private and third sectors to ensure a strong recovery. He will chair a cross party steering group on Covid recovery which is expected to hold its first meeting next week.
Mr Swinney will also take the lead on inter-governmental relations, public service reform, including within government, and the delivery of a number of transformational projects across government and wider society. This includes the incorporation of the UN Human Rights treaties and the delivery of The Promise to care experienced young people.
He will be supported by the Minister for Parliamentary Business.
Further cabinet and ministerial appointments will be made on Wednesday 19 May.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“Our first priority as a government is to lead the country through the pandemic and into a recovery that supports our NHS, protects and creates jobs, backs our young people and contributes to our ambition to be a net zero nation.
“Appointing John Swinney to drive cross government work on Covid Recovery is a key step in getting Scotland’s recovery off to the right start.
“How we begin our recovery is crucial to the kind of country we can become, and that means ensuring everyone, whether in government, the public sector, the business community or wider society is pulling in the same direction.”