A FORMER headteacher who rose through the ranks to take charge of education across East Renfrewshire is to stand down.

It has been announced that Mhairi Shaw is retiring after seven years as East Renfrewshire Council’s director of education.

Mrs Shaw has been hailed as “the driving force behind the continual improvement in educational achievement” in the Barrhead area.

Council chiefs said that, during her time in the job, she has overseen significant improvements in the school estate and managed large-scale curriculum changes.

Mrs Shaw, who will step down at the end of August, said: “It has been an honour and privilege to work in East Renfrewshire Council, firstly as headteacher of Mearns Primary, then as head of education services and finally as director of education.

“I believe I will be leaving, although heavy-hearted, with our schools and the department in very good health. I wish all my colleagues, all of our schools, children, young people and staff my very best wishes for the future.”

Paying tribute to Mrs Shaw’s contribution, Councillor Paul O’Kane, East Renfrewshire’s education and equalities convener, said: “Mhairi has been a part of East Renfrewshire Council for 19 years and, during that time, has made an immense contribution.

“She has led a committed and talented team with distinction and has always left no stone unturned when striving for the very best for every child and young person across East Renfrewshire.

“We wish her a healthy and happy retirement and she undoubtedly leaves a fantastic legacy which will continue in the years ahead.”

The search is now on for a successor, with the job set to be advertised on March 13 and interviews held in May.

Mrs Shaw qualified with a Diploma of College Education in 1978 and went on to teach in several primary schools in the Lanark Division of Strathclyde Region, before becoming a headteacher at Lawmuir Primary, in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, in 1993.

Her last headteacher post was at Mearns Primary, in Newton Mearns, from 2001 to 2004, during which time she oversaw the transfer to a new school building – one of the largest in Scotland, with a capacity for 900 pupils and 120 nursery children.

In 2004, she became the council’s head of education services.
Mrs Shaw took up the post of director of education in October 2013.