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Council's new head of education on a two-year loan

Midlothian Council has taken the unusual step of seconding a senior figure from Education Scotland as its new head of education.

Peter McNaughton will fill the role in what the council describes as "a partnership move with Education Scotland". It is thought to have caused some surprise locally.

He is currently assistant director at the government agency, with responsibility for early years, families and partnerships.

He has worked with HMIE and latterly Education Scotland - formed when the inspectorate merged with Learning and Teaching Scotland in 2011 - for 10 years, including in the role of assistant chief inspector.

He will start his new job in April and work solely for Midlothian Council during his two-year stint.

In a statement, the council said Mr McNaughton's appointment would "see the council working closely with Scotland's leading education authority".

Lisa Beattie, Midlothian cabinet member for education, said the appointment "proves that, as a council, we are willing to try new ways of working".

Alan McKenzie, acting general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, is concerned that, following the creation of Education Scotland, this is another sign of the country's various education bodies becoming too "cosy" with each other.

He added that it typically took new appointees to senior roles within education authorities about two years to "get up to speed", which raised questions about continuity.

In a similar move in the opposite direction last year, Fife head of education Craig Munro took up a long-term secondment as a strategic director with Education Scotland.

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