The council’s director of children’s services Helen Budge has taken a key role in the Northern Alliance – the collaboration between eight Scottish local authorities which aim to improve the lives of young people.
Mrs Budge has taken up the mantle of lead officer for the collaboration.
She has been participating in the work of the alliance alongside other education directors from all the councils involved.
Mrs Budge has been director of children’s services in the isles for eight years and performed various management roles from the year 2000 after beginning her career as a primary school teacher in 1989.
She said she was pleased to be taking a more leading role in the strategic direction of the alliance.
“I am passionate about learning and teaching and about the value of working together towards shared goals,” she said.
“Making the time for discussion, taking up professional learning opportunities and listening to the best practice shared by others is invaluable for teachers and practitioners regardless of whether you’re in Lerwick or Lochgilphead.
“We’re looking at really key issues here, like helping schools to better understand poverty within their local context so they can get rid of the barriers it puts up for young people, like seeing how well e-learning can be delivered and the great results it can generate which are now being recognised globally – it really is inspiring.
“We’ve also developed a number of toolkits, resource packs and templates we’re really keen for colleagues across all eight local authorities to recognise and use. I look forward to working with the team to drive and champion our work.”
Mrs Budge will be supported in leading the improvement collaborative by a quality improvement manager.
The local authorities which form the Northern Alliance are Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, Western Isles, Highland, Moray and Orkney as well as Shetland Islands Council.
There are currently 10 practitioners working on research and collaboration activities on behalf of the Northern Alliance. Many are seconded part-time to share best practice within the various local authorities.
They are supported by Education Scotland’s northern team in taking the work forward.
Education Scotland’s northern team senior regional adviser David Gregory added: “We’re very pleased to be welcoming Helen into this leadership role for the Northern Alliance.
“She has been an integral member of the Northern Alliance since its inception and the whole team wishes her well in the new post.
“We are keen to work with Helen and the work stream leads to co-ordinate our collaboration with teachers across the Northern Alliance.”