John Swinney was appointed Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills in May 2016.
The Cabinet Secretary is responsible for:
- school standards, quality and improvement
- school infrastructure and staffing
- educational attainment, qualifications and closing the attainment gap
- the national improvement framework
- the teaching profession
- behaviour and measures to combat bullying
- modern languages and the Gaelic and Scots languages
- named person and looked after children
- early years, further education and colleges, and higher education and universities
- widening access and student funding
- science and STEM
- youth work and Skills Development Scotland
- non-advanced vocational skills
- adoption, fostering protection of vulnerable groups
- children's rights, child protection and the historical abuse enquiry
- social services workforce and children's hearings
- children's services and childcare implementation
- Minister for Childcare and Early Years
- Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science
- Minister for Employability and Training
Born in 1964, he joined the Scottish National Party in 1979 and went on to graduate from Edinburgh University with an MA (Hons) in Politics. He has worked for the Scottish Coal Project, Development Options and Scottish Amicable.
Prior to his election as Westminster MP for North Tayside in 1997, he held a number of posts in the SNP at local and national level. In 1999, he became the MSP for Tayside North, remaining as the constituency's MP until standing down from Westminster at the 2001 General Election.
From 1998 to 2000, he served as deputy leader of the SNP, and then as party leader between 2000 and 2004. He was re-elected as an MSP at the 2011 Scottish Parliament election and appointed Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth. He was appointed as Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy in November 2014.