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Theresa May is a British politician who became the country’s second female prime minister in July 2016 and served until 2019, succeeding David Cameron as Conservative Party leader. Her maiden name was Theresa Mary Brasier and she was born on October 1, 1956, in Eastbourne, Sussex, England.
See the fact file below for more information on Theresa May, or you can download our 22-page Theresa May worksheet pack to utilize within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Theresa Mary May is the only child of Zaidee Mary Barnes (1928–1982) and Hubert Brasier, an Anglican minister (1917–1981).
- May began her education at Heythrop Primary School, a public school in Heythrop, and then transferred to St. Juliana’s Convent School for Girls, a Roman Catholic independent school in Begbroke that closed in 1984.
- When May was 13, she was awarded a spot at the former Holton Park Girls’ Grammar School, a Wheatley public school.
- Theresa May received an education that included both public and private schools, as well as grammar and comprehensive schools.
- She studied geography at St Hugh’s College, Oxford University, and graduated with a second-class BA degree in 1977. She was a “tall, fashion-conscious young woman who from an early age spoke of her aspiration to be the first woman prime minister”, according to people who knew her.
- In 1976, in her third year at Oxford University, she met her husband Philip, who was two years her junior and president of the Oxford Union, a well-known breeding ground for future political leaders.
- Philip May was introduced to Theresa at a Conservative Association dance by future Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. He and Theresa believe that they fell in love at first sight. They wed in 1980.
- She began her professional life at the Bank of England and then worked at the Association for Payment Clearing Services (APACS).
- After earning a bachelor’s degree in geography, May moved to work in the City, beginning her career at the Bank of England and staying there until 1983. From 1985 through 1997, she worked at the Association of Payment Clearing Services as a financial consultant and senior advisor in international relations, and ascended to the position of director of the European Affairs Unit. At the same time, she was a councilor in Merton, south London.
- Before and after joining the government, May supported policy efforts in her constituency and nationally. She has talked at the Fawcett Society on gender equality. She is the patron of the Berkshire-based Reading University Conservative Association (the county of her Maidenhead constituency).
Political Career and Accomplishments
- May first entered politics in 1986, when she was elected to serve as a councilor in the London borough of Merton.
- In the 1992 general election, she ran for a seat in North West Durham with lofty political ambitions. This attempt failed, as did her bid to win the Barking by-election in 1994.
- She ran again in 1997 and was elected as Maidenhead’s Conservative MP, showing tenacity. In 1998, she joined William Hague’s front-bench Opposition party as shadow spokeswoman for schools, the disabled, and women.
- In 1999, she was appointed Shadow Secretary of Education and Employment in the Shadow Cabinet. Iain Duncan Smith, the new leader of the Conservatives, assigned her the transport portfolio after the 2001 election.
- As a famous politician around the beginning of the century, May became the Conservative Party’s first female chair in 2002. When Michael Howard became the Conservative Party and Opposition Leader in November 2003, she was promoted to Shadow Secretary.
- In 2004, she was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for the Family. In 2005, she was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport. In December 2005, David Cameron appointed her as the House of Commons shadow leader.
- Her career progressed over time, and in 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron appointed her as Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality. As Home Secretary, Theresa May also served on the National Security Council.
- As Home Secretary, she also revoked numerous previous Labour government data collection and surveillance policies in England and Wales. During her term, the Identity Documents Act 2010 was passed, ending the Labour government’s National Identity Card and database project.
- May, a lawmaker with strong views on immigration, committed in 2010 to reducing net migration to less than 100,000 people. In addition, she opposed the European Union‘s plan for mandatory refugee quotas.
- From 2010 to 2012, Theresa May served as Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality.
- Prime Minister David Cameron resigned in June 2016 due to the European Union membership referendum in which the United Kingdom chose to leave the European Union. Following his resignation, Theresa May confirmed her candidacy for the Conservative Party leadership.
- Numerous cabinet ministers supported Theresa May, including Amber Rudd, Chris Grayling, Justine Greening, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Fallon, and Patrick McLoughlin. On July 11, 2016, she was declared leader of the Conservative Party following a good outcome in the vote and the resignation of another possible candidate, Andrea Leadsom.
- On July 13, 2016, Theresa May took office as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, becoming the country’s second female Prime Minister following Margaret Thatcher.
Prime Minister Position
- May was sworn in as the second female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 2016 and the thirteenth Prime Minister in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
- When David Cameron became Prime Minister in 2010, May was appointed Home Secretary. She was the longest-serving Home Secretary in almost a century and was vocal in her support for immigration restrictions and her criticism of law enforcement.
- In 2016, she opposed Brexit alongside Cameron (British withdrawal from the European Union). Boris Johnson, the primary spokesman for the “Leave” campaign, was set to become the new Conservative leader when Cameron announced his impending departure following the June national referendum in which Britons voted to exit the EU.
- Johnson, however, withdrew from the contest with the loss of several important backers. May entered a pool of four other candidates and survived votes by parliamentary Conservatives to emerge alongside Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom as the final contenders to be voted on by general party members by September 9, 2016.
- Leadsom withdrew her candidacy in reaction to a scandal involving comments she had made about parenting as a requirement for leadership almost before the process could begin (May had no children). All of this prepared the stage for May to quickly become the next Conservative leader, and on July 13, 2016, she was sworn in as Prime Minister.
- May announced her resignation as Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party on May 24, 2019. The announcement followed her latest disputed Brexit plan, which promised a second referendum.
- Noting her failure to bridge gaps across Parliament and within her party, she said, “It was proper to persist even when the odds of success looked to be against me. However, it is clear to me that a new Prime Minister should spearhead this endeavor. I am the second female Prime Minister, but not the last. She claimed to resign “without malice but with enormous appreciation for serving my country”.
- May formally resigned from her position on July 24, 2019, making way for new Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Theresa May Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about Theresa May across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use worksheets that are perfect for teaching kids about Theresa May, who was Britain’s second female prime minister in July 2016.
Complete List of Included Worksheets
Below is a list of all the worksheets included in this document.
- Theresa May Facts
- Fill in the Gaps
- Focus on It
- Pick a Box
- May’s Journey
- Major Factors
- Vote for Me
- Need It? Make It
- Get to Know Me
- May’s Quote
Frequently Asked Questions
How Theresa May became Prime Minister?
May became the UK’s second female prime minister after Margaret Thatcher in July 2016, when David Cameron resigned and she was elected Conservative Party leader. May is the first woman to hold two of the most important governmental positions, the second being Liz Truss.
Why did Theresa May resign?
Theresa May resigned because she couldn’t get away for the UK to leave the European Union that Parliament would support. This caused a lot of political turmoil, as the government kept losing votes.
Can Theresa May be Primer Minister again?
The leader of the political party that has the most seats in Parliament is usually the prime minister. If one party gets more than half of all the seats in an election, then its leader becomes the prime minister. If no party wins a clear majority, it may take some time to figure out who will be the prime minister. This is because the parties may have to negotiate with each other in order to come to an agreement. Theresa May had an unsuccessful term. This means it will be difficult for her party to support her to become a PM again.
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Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.