Macron replaces embattled education minister with former justice minister Belloubet

PARIS (Reuters) - France announced a second batch of ministerial nominations on Thursday, with embattled Amelie Oudea-Castera stepping down as Education Minister and being replaced by former justice minister Nicole Belloubet.

Oudea-Castera, a former high-flying tennis player, retains her role as Sports and Olympic Games Minister, the French Presidency said.

Belloubet was justice minister from June 2017 until July 2020, when she was replaced by Eric Dupond-Moretti.

Oudea-Castera had come under fire since her nomination in January to a mammoth ministry combining education, sports and the Olympics for the way she handled the following controversy over her children being privately schooled.

She initially said she had taken her children off state schools to place them in a private Catholic institution because the state school had too often failed to replace missing teachers. She was forced to apologise when the school's teacher at the time refuted being absent.

Furious media headlines depicting her as out of touch and representative of a privileged and aloof elite had overshadowed the first days of Gabriel Attal's government, increasingly becoming a liability for Macron and his new prime minister.

The nominations come after Macron reshuffled his government in January.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; editing by Michel Rose and Benoit Van Overstraeten)