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Directorate's rising star to head LT Scotland

The lengthy search for a new chief executive of Learning and Teaching Scotland has finally ended with the announcement that Bernard McLeary, director of education in Inverclyde, has landed the job.

Mr McLeary, aged 52, takes over from Mike Baughan who retires in June. He can be expected to ensure that LT Scotland will work closely with education authorities, some of which have felt they were watching from the sidelines as the organisation expanded dramatically.

The Inverclyde director's stock rose considerably in 2001 when an HMI report on the authority gave it one of the best reports at that stage. It praised Mr McLeary's "very good" leadership and said he did not shirk from hard decisions but was "skilled in mobilising support for education priorities".

It remains the only authority to be rated very good by HMI for its record of continuous improvement in pupil attainment, against a background where 24 per cent of pupils are entitled to free meals - the sixth highest rate in Scotland.

Mr McLeary's record in this area clearly commended him to LTS and to ministers, who had to approve his appointment. Tom Wilson, who chairs LTS, noted Mr McLeary's "personal commitment to continuous improvement and achievement".

The new chief executive pledged to focus particularly on efforts "to enhance the quality of the educational experiences of learners and to help improve pupil achievement within an inclusive education system".

Mr McLeary has come to LTS with a long record in local government dating from 1984 when he became an education adviser and then an education officer in various posts in the former Strathclyde Region. He has been Inverclyde's director since council reorganisation in 1995.

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