Helen Budge, Director of Children’s Services at Shetland Islands Council, has taken up the mantle as Lead Officer for the Northern Alliance. She will be supported in leading the improvement collaborative by a quality improvement manager, working with Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Argyll & Bute, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Highland, Moray, Orkney and Shetland councils to improve the life chances of children and young people.

There are currently 10 practitioners working on research and collaboration activities on behalf of the Northern Alliance, many of whom are seconded on a part-time basis to share best practice from their substantive posts within the various local authorities. They are supported by Education Scotland’s Northern Team in developing outputs from their respective workstreams.

Helen has been participating in the ongoing work of the Northern Alliance alongside education directors from all eight local authorities and is pleased to be taking a more leading role in its strategic direction. She has been Director of Children’s Services in Shetland for eight years and performed various management roles from the year 2000 after beginning her career as a primary school teacher in 1989.

Helen explained: “I am passionate about learning and teaching and about the value of working together towards shared goals. 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.”

David Gregory who is Senior Regional Advisor for Education Scotland’s Northern Team 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 workstream leads to coordinate our collaboration with teachers across the Northern Alliance.”

Teachers and practitioners can find further details of toolkits and resources on our Northern Alliance Glow site.

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