Constance’s stewardship of the high-profile education portfolio has been the subject of much criticism since her appointment 18 months ago.
After the election, Sturgeon repeated her pledge that her performance as First Minister should be judged on her government’s education record, a statement which intensified the rumours circulating about Constance’s future.
Sturgeon may choose to replace Constance with Shona Robison, the current Health Secretary.
During the election campaign, Constance was given a torrid time by teachers when they tackled her over cuts to college places at a hustings event in Edinburgh. Constance’s reputation was not helped by a high-profile gaffe on television. The Education Secretary stumbled over her words when trying to say 2012, saying “twenty-thousand and twelve” instead.
She then asked for the interview to start again, only to be told by Sunday Politics Scotland host Gordon Brewer that it was, in fact, a live broadcast.
Given the SNP leader’s commitment to appointing a Cabinet with a 50:50 gender split, the success of Jeane Freeman, above, on Thursday gives her another option when it comes to appointing her ministerial team. Freeman, formerly an adviser for Labour’s Jack McConnell, is tipped for at least a junior post.