Hinds, the MP for East Hampshire who became minister of state for the Department for Work and Pensions in July 2016, was officially announced as Education Secretary shortly after it emerged that Justine Greening had quit the government.
Prior to being an employment minister, he previously served as assistant government whip from July 2014 until March 2015 and as exchequer secretary to the Treasury from May 2015 until July 2016.
Before this he was a member of the education select committee and also chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility.
Hinds said he was "delighted" with the new job.
Delighted to be appointed Education Secretary - looking forward to working with the great teachers & lecturers in our schools, colleges & universities giving people the opportunities to make the most of their lives— Damian Hinds (@DamianHinds) January 8, 2018
It is understood that Greening, who had been Education Secretary since July 2016, was offered the opportunity to become Work and Pensions Secretary, but declined.
Greening's departure comes less than a month after she launched a social mobility action plan. But, it had been claimed as early as last week that she was at risk of losing her job in a reshuffle.
Greening has pledged to continue working towards social mobility outside of government.
Honour & privilege to serve in Govt since 2010. Social mobility matters to me & our country more than my ministerial career. I'll continue to do everything I can to create a country that has equality of opportunity for young people & I'll keep working hard as MP for Putney.— Justine Greening (@JustineGreening) January 8, 2018
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, said the change in leadership at the department represents an opportunity to revisit issues affecting the sector.
"We welcome Damian Hinds into his role as Education Secretary and look forward to working closely with him in the coming months," Leitch said.
"Though the importance of a quality early years education is no longer a matter for debate, Mr Hinds takes over the Department for Education at a time when underfunding is testing the sector's sustainability while providers continue to voice concerns about the increased schoolification of early education."