A reshuffle in the top ranks of the Higher Still development programme has seen the unexpectedly early departure of Frank Pignatelli, Strathclyde's former director of education, from the inner policy-making counsels of the reform.
Mr Pignatelli's position as chairman of the key curriculum and assessment task group is being taken by Graham Donaldson, the newly appointed number two in the Inspectorate.
John Travers, North Ayrshire's director of education, who is vice-president of the Association of Directors of Education, fills the chairmanship of the information and publicity group vacated by Jim Anderson, the Orkney director.
Mr Pignatelli's knowledge of the programme will mean a serious loss at a crucial time and his resignation has not been universally welcomed. But many of the newly appointed education directorate felt they were better placed to fill the breach as Higher Still moves towards implementation. Mr Pignatelli's absence from the Scottish education scene since his appointment to a senior post in London with Associated Newspapers was seen as a particular handicap.