Alan Ward, East Ayrshire Council’s Head of Education has announced that he will retire in March 2018 when he has reached the age of 60. Alan’s decision has prompted reaction from council members and management and will result in a nationwide search to fill his shoes.
Fiona Lees East Ayrshire Council’s Chief Executive said: “I fully respect Alan’s decision to retire at 60. He’s a dedicated family man and I’m well aware this has been a personal milestone for him for some time.
“As a former Kilmarnock footballer, Alan’s work ethic and commitment to teamwork is always exemplary and he carries the same ethos into his career in education.
“He has an outstanding record both as a teacher and as head teacher of St Josephs Academy and as Head of Education he has worked tirelessly to boost attainment and to make sure all our young people have every opportunity to succeed in school, work and in life.
“In that time, he has championed literacy and numeracy in all our schools, with a raft of creative and fun initiatives to engage learners, as well as parents and local communities.
“He has been at the forefront in developing new and exciting initiatives to involve employers and higher education providers in widening the range of positive destinations – from catering to engineering and science.
“As a manager, he has continuously sought to challenge his team to develop personally and professionally, leading, driving and inspiring change by personal example.”
Alex McPhee, Depute Chief Executive and Strategic Lead for Economy and Skills added: “Alan’s track record speaks for itself.
“In the last three years, we have seen schools performing consistently well in delivering a first class education to our young people.
“Alan has always looked to build on success and to spot and act immediately on any areas for improvement. That direct hands-on approach has characterised his tenure as Head of Education.
“Alan has been an advocate to make sure the journey from pre-school to primary and the the transition to secondary education is as seamless as possible.
“We were one of the first local authorities to embrace the nurture model for helping some of our youngest learners develop skills to succeed in school, in class and in their family environment – with excellent results for their confidence and wellbeing.
“Much of what Alan has achieved is unsung, embodied into the day to day life in our schools as part of the educational culture.”
Councillor Fiona Campbell, Cabinet Member for Skills and Learning said: “As a former teacher, I appreciate first-hand just how much Alan has done for education locally and just how hard he has worked to implement the changes and demands placed on teachers and schools, as the Curriculum for Excellence matures.
“At the core of his work lies a truly human approach to education, with personal development and new skills at the core of his work.
“Sport is also close to Alan’s heart, and he has always encouraged young people to be active, making healthy choices now and into the future.
“His success can also be measured outside the classroom, with unprecedented numbers of pupils signing up for the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Award and a national accolade for Outdoor Residentials – for delivering learning excellence outwith the traditional classroom environment.
“It really is a fantastic legacy.”
Alan said: “I had always planned to retire at 60 but there is so much I still want to do before I leave the Council in March 2018.
“It’s been a real honour to have led on a number of significant achievements for the Council, from big, visible things like major new school builds, through to less obvious successes of our Nurture Approach and improving transitions between stages.
“Education is both an experience to be enjoyed and an opportunity to learn widely and put in place the skills needed to succeed in life.
“The world is a rapidly changing place and the rise of digital technology has been advancing incredibly fast. Even in my time in post, education has moved from books and blackboards to the internet, smartphones and tablets.
“I’ve loved every minute of my time and I’m proud that the new Head of Education will inherit an education leadership team that is professional, enthusiastic and committed to continuing to drive up standards.”