MORAY Council’s director of education and social care is being seconded for two years to help drive forward education reforms in the north of Scotland.
Laurence Findlay will be working with the recently-formed Northern Alliance of councils as the regional improvement lead, with the aim of delivering educational improvement and best practice across the area.
Mr Findlay’s role will be covered for two years by existing senior staff at Moray Council.
Supported by the Scottish Government, the Northern Alliance is a partnership between eight local authorities: Moray, Highland, Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City, Argyll and Bute, Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles.
It has the aim of "making a difference in the lives of children and young people by ensuring teaching professionals collaborate for improvement by sharing best practice, supporting the development of professional networks and pursuing partnership approaches to educational development".
Mr Findlay said: "The focus will be on raising attainment and improving outcomes for young people. The Northern Alliance does not have only an education focus but rather is committed to securing improvements across all children’s services, and will seek to work collaboratively with partners from other agencies to implement our regional improvement plan. Our role as an improvement collaborative is to reduce inconsistencies in the system and strengthen the support we provide to schools."
Across the Northern Alliance there are more than 600 schools, 120,000 young people and more than 10,000 education professionals including 9000 teachers.
Mr Findlay will report to the eight chief executives of the councils involved, and to the Scottish Government’s Chief Inspector of Education.
Moray Council’s chief executive, Roddy Burns, said: "It’s unsurprising that Laurence has been selected for this pivotal role. He has played a major role in the national debate on education and has ensured that Moray is ahead of the curve on any reforms. We will be keeping his seat warm and wish him well in this secondment."
There will be no single person or director replacing Mr Findlay during his secondment. While some "key elements" of education and social care will become the responsibility of other directors in the local authority’s corporate management team, according to a Moray Council spokesman, other areas will be taken on by existing senior staff.
Until August, Mr Findlay will be working four days for the alliance and one for the local authority.
"This will assist transition arrangements for existing senior staff in the directorate to assume the duties for the two-year period," the spokesman added.