FORMER St Ambrose College pupil Damian Hinds has been appointed as the new Education Secretary — and is now being widely tipped as a possible future Prime Minister.

Mr Hinds replaces Justine Greening in the Cabinet hot seat in a reshuffle designed to introduce fresh blood with greater electoral appeal into a private-school dominated government.

Mr Hinds, 48, went to the Hale Barns Catholic Grammar School from 1980 to 1987 before going up to Trinity College, Oxford, where he got a first-class honours degree in politics, philosophy and economics and was President of the Oxford University Society.

“I worked for a few years for a management consultancy, then most of my career in the hospitality business, including several years with InterContinental and Holiday Inn hotels, some time as a freelancer, and a couple of years with Greene King, the pub company and brewer.

“I first stood for Parliament in Stretford & Urmston in 2005 but was not successful. In 2010, I was elected as MP for East Hampshire.”

His rise saw a rapid appointment to a junior ministerial role in the Department of Work Pensions, but has now jumped the queue to win the Education berth, and is, like his boss Theresa May, a grammar school pupil.

Mr Hinds wrote on Twitter that he was "looking forward to working with the great teachers and lecturers in our schools, colleges and universities giving people the opportunities to make the most of their lives".

The incoming education secretary will face pressures over school funding and decisions about university tuition fees. School funding proved to be an important doorstep issue in the election, with Ms Greening announcing that an extra £1.3 billion worth of the education department's budget would be moved to schools.

He will also also face big decisions over higher education, including the future of tuition fees and university funding.

Speaking on on of his many visits to his former school, he said: “My memories of St Ambrose are very good ones. St Ambrose was where I got my interest in current affairs and public policy. We had many opportunities for debate in lessons, in the debating society, and informally. It is good to see the school doing so well today.”

St Ambrose principal Mr Keulemans said: “ We always follow with the greatest interest the careers of our Old Boys. Damian was an outstanding student and is an inspiration to today’s young Ambrosians. We congratulate him on his promotion and wish him the very best. As teachers we appreciate it is an immensely important role.”