Helen Budge to retire from children’s services role

The director of the council’s children’s services, Helen Budge, will retire in September.

Mrs Budge, who has held the position at Hayfield House for the last 13 years, began her career as a teacher in September in 1989.

Back then she was working at Urafirth Primary School, but she later moved on to Dunrossness.

Mrs Budge moved into central management in 1999, and has undertaken several roles before becoming the director in 2011. 

This role includes Shetland’s early learning and childcare, primary and secondary schools, as well as children’s social work, the library service, sport and leisure, and youth and employability. 

She has also represented Shetland at a national level, sitting on the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, and the General Teaching Council for Scotland, and was involved in the Northern Alliance. 

She is moving on from Shetland Islands Council to support her family at their farm in Bigton.

Mrs Budge said her 35 years since qualifying as a primary teacher had been extremely rewarding: 

“My service to education and bairns has been wholly in Shetland. I am proud to have led the children’s services directorate and have had a fantastic team of officers working with me. 

“I am honoured to have served the bairns, their families and the community of Shetland during this time.

“I have two passions – education and children’s services, and farming and family, so I am now going to shift the balance back to farming.”

Referencing her daughters Kirsty and Aimee, who run Bigton Farm, Mrs Budge said: “What a privilege that da lasses want me to help them. 

“I love my job and have enjoyed working with many wonderful folk over the years.  I have always said ‘family first’ so it is now time for me to take my own advice.”

Maggie Sandison, the council’s chief executive, said she wished Helen well for the future: 

“I’ve always admired Helen for her strength, determination and care for her work colleagues, as well as the thousands of pupils who have passed through our schools over the years. 

“This decision is not one that Helen has taken lightly and I know her family will always, rightly, come first for her.

“The council owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Helen for the unwavering dedication, passion and commitment that she has shown in her leadership of our Children’s Services. 

“Helen’s professionalism, her focus on problem-solving, her willingness to face tough challenges head on, and her compassion for our most vulnerable children and families has left an indelible mark on our organisation and the countless individuals who have been supported by our services.”


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