28 July 2023

New Head of Education appointed to Aberdeenshire Council

Aberdeenshire Council has welcomed its new Head of Education and Chief Education Officer.

Susan Smith, currently one of His Majesty’s Inspectors of Education with Education Scotland, has been appointed to the role and will begin on September 11. 

Growing up in Aberdeen, she trained as a teacher at Northern College at the Hilton campus before gaining her first teaching job at Bervie Primary School in 1990.

Mrs Smith worked as a teacher in Aberdeenshire schools for almost 20 years before becoming a deputy head teacher at Mill O’ Forest School in Stonehaven and then returning to Bervie School as headteacher. 

She was soon seconded as a National Improvement Framework Advisor to Education Scotland, supporting schools and local authorities with approaches to assessment and moderation.

For the last five years she has been an HM Inspector of Education, working in schools across the country.

The mother-of-two said: “I’ve always been driven by wanting to make a difference. I benefited from having great teachers when I was at school. Education can change people’s lives – it can inspire, motivate and build confidence. 

“We want children and young people to have the knowledge and skills they need to thrive and lead fulfilling lives. Education plays an important part in that.”

Education and Children’s Services is the largest service in Aberdeenshire Council with a budget of more than £380 million each year.

Across Aberdeenshire there are 17 secondary schools, four special schools and 147 primary schools. There are more than 36,000 pupils and 2,800 full-time equivalent teachers across the school estate.

Director of Education and Children's Services at Aberdeenshire Council Laurence Findlay said: “I am very much looking forward to Susan coming back to Aberdeenshire in this key role as Head of Education. 

“Susan brings a wealth of experience and expertise, and she will be a huge asset to the team. 

“I am sure colleagues from across our service and our schools will join me in giving Susan a warm welcome as she takes up her new post.”

It’s a return to Aberdeenshire Council as Mrs Smith was a former quality improvement officer with the education service.

She added: “I am delighted to have been appointed to this role and excited to return to Aberdeenshire. 

“I look forward to working with colleagues, children, young people and their families and communities to build on Aberdeenshire’s existing strengths and successes.”