For her part Greening said in a tweet that educational issues like social mobility matter "more than my ministerial career", and vowed to continue to work for young people as a member of parliament.
Seven months on, there should be fewer questions about the prime minister's short-term survival, not least because few potential rivals fancy months spearheading debilitating negotiations with Brussels.
Former justice secretary David Lidington took over the policy coordination role previously held by Green but did not inherit the title of May's deputy.
Greening had tried to refuse to switch jobs once before, when former Prime Minister David Cameron moved her from transport to global development, according to an official familiar with past reshuffles.
May has limited political capital for bold moves and can not afford to upset the pro- and anti-EU balance of her cabinet following the loss of her parliamentary majority in the last election and persistent internal turmoil over Brexit and her leadership.
The reshuffle is not expected to result in any high-profile sackings, with foreign minister and Brexit proponent Boris Johnson, pro-EU finance minister Philip Hammond and Brexit Secretary David Davis all set to keep their jobs.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who favours the United Kingdom remaining in the single market and customs union, said Mr Davis's words were "extraordinary" given the government had set aside £3.7bn to prepare the United Kingdom for the possibility of leaving without an agreement.
Conservative party chairman Patrick McLoughlin will lose his job, with his replacement ordered to overhaul party operations in the wake of last year's election losses, according to The Times. Not only was she safe until Brexit was completed, they said, the negotiations could so enhance and fix her reputation that she might yet lead her party into the 2022 election.
One constraint is keeping the delicate balance in May's top team between those who supported the "leave" agenda and those who backed "remain" in Britain's referendum on whether to stay in the European Union.
But the day began in a farcical fashion when her Conservative party announced a new chairperson on Twitter, only to delete the tweet and later name another lawmaker for the post.
And it got off to a dramatic start today as James Brokenshire resigned as Northern Ireland Secretary.
"That reign of Conservative Party chairman lasted about 37 seconds", noted Sky News's Faisal Islam.
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