ADES Association of Directors of
Education in Scotland

ADES is an independent professional network for leaders and managers in education and children's services. We inform and influence education policy in Scotland working in partnership with local and national government, regional improvement collaboratives, Education Scotland, COSLA and other relevant agencies.

In ADES we recognise the importance of professional learning for our education and children’s services leaders. To support this we offer a wide range of activities through our annual conference, network meetings, peer evaluation work, courses on leadership and systems leadership as well as other professional development opportunities for our members

Our website contains information about the work of the Association, who we are and our most recent publications. Information about our virtual staff college and the many conferences and professional development activities are regularly updated on our website.



Sheena Devlin     

Sheena Devlin,  President ADES
Executive Director, P&K Council

Sheena is Executive Director (Education and Children’s Services) in Perth and Kinross.


She has had a long and varied career in education working in a range of schools in different posts, including being headteacher in two schools in different areas of Scotland.

She has had the privilege of two national secondments – one as a full time Associate Assessor with HMIe and the other as a Professional Adviser to the Scottish Executive during the early development days of Curriculum for Excellence.

Since August 2007 she has worked first as Service Manager with Education and Children’s Services and then as Head of Education – Early Years and Primary. She took up her current post as Executive Director in October 2015.



Laurence Findlay,  Vice President ADES

Director of Education and Children’s Services in Aberdeenshire Council 

Laurence comes from Fraserburgh in the north east of Scotland and he has been Director of Education and Children’s Services in Aberdeenshire Council since 2018 and prior to this held similar senior roles in Moray Council. Laurence started his career as a teacher of French and German and held various teaching posts in Edinburgh, Aberdeenshire and Moray Councils before becoming Head Teacher of Forres Academy in Moray in 2008. On behalf of ADES, he has led a number of areas of work, including the strategic  implementation of the 1+2 languages programme, Head Teacher Recruitment and Retention and during the Covid-19 pandemic, he co-chaired the staff support and wellbeing workstream. Laurence also represents ADES on the Strategic Board for Teacher Education.


Mark Ratter

Chair Director Forum

Mark is Director of Education in East Renfrewshire.


Mark has played an active role in the PIN and was the former Chair. He contributes to regional and national work through his involvement as the lead of the West Partnership and as a member of the LGBF Board.

He worked as part of the quality improvement team in East Renfrewshire Council from 2005 and then as Head of Education Services from 2015. He took up his current post as Director in November 2020.

 ADES Officers

As Leaders in education from across Scotland ADES, as an association, holds a wealth of experience and expertise. It is our commitment to make best use of that experience and expertise by sharing what we do more widely.

We are experiencing a very fast moving pace of change in education right now and as ADES we are determined to be part of the journey for change using our members to inform what happens.



General Secretary: Michael Wood
Email contact:

What is the Role of the ADES General Secretary?
The role of the General Secretary is to support the President, Vice-President and Executive in ensuring the smooth functioning of the Executive Committee.

In summary, the Secretary is responsible for:

  1. Ensuring meetings are effectively organised and that minutes are taken
  2. Maintaining effective records and administration (including the website)
  3. Upholding the legal requirements of governing documents, charity law, company law etc (where relevant).
  4. Dealing timeously with all communication and correspondence
  5. Responding timeously to all communication with ADES members
  6. Line Managing the Executive Officer and Professional Learning Officer
  7. Overseeing the running of the ADES networks
  8. Proactively working with ADES members to provide support and advice
  9. Being one of three ADES Leads for Collaborative Improvement

It is important to note that although the Secretary ensures that these responsibilities are met, much of the work can be delegated to paid staff or ADES members.

Given these responsibilities, the General Secretary often acts as an information and reference point for the President and other committee members: clarifying past practice and decisions; confirming legal requirements; and retrieving relevant documentation. The General Secretary ensures that all responsibilities are met, but will have less involvement in actually carrying them out when these are delegated. Examples of this can be the management of networks, record keeping, minute taking at Executive Meetings, filing correspondence and communication of activities etc).

Main responsibilities of the General Secretary

1. Ensuring meetings are effectively organised and minuted
2. Maintaining effective records and administration
3. Upholding legal requirements
4. Communication and correspondence



Executive Officer

Carrie Lindsay

The role of the ADES Executive Officer


To support effective partnership working between the Scottish Government and the ADES Executive, networks and members in the design and delivery of education policies and priorities to improve outcomes for Scotland’s learners.


Main functions:


  • Advise Scottish Government on all aspects of the Scottish education system from a local government/ADES perspective
  • Advise Scottish Government on key national priorities, including Curriculum for Excellence, SAC, teacher and headteacher recruitment, education workforce planning etc
  • Liaise with the ADES Executive, Directors’ Forum/Drop-in and ADES networks
  • Ensure effective collaboration and communication between Scottish Government and ADES



Key current areas include:


  • ADES leadership and engagement in the delivery of SAC activities to address the poverty-related attainment gap, including the implementation of the refreshed SAC programme and the approach to setting and achieving stretch aims;


  • ADES engagement in Scotland’s education reform programme, including contributing to joint activity to support the delivery of:


  • the renewed vision for Scottish education, to be set out in the National Discussion and any subsequent Scottish Government response;
  • the future of assessment and national qualifications, to be set out in the Hayward Review and any subsequent Scottish Government response,
  • the reform of our national bodies, as set out in the 09 March 2022 report and recommendations from Professor Ken Muir and the Scottish Government’s response
  • the Roles and Responsibilities workstream, to provide clarity on the roles of the new national bodies in their relationships with practitioners, local authorities, RICs and other system partners.
  • supporting continued progress in school empowerment and collaborative improvement within the education reform context.



  • ADES engagement with a range of education and early years priorities, including:


  • strengthening parental and learner engagement in Scottish education;
    • providing clarity and continued progress on the delivery models for key programmes (incl. teacher numbers, NCCT, digital devices);
    • consultation and regulations related to learning hours;
    • work related to the supply of teachers (including on geographic and subject specific challenges);
    • progress with refining our use of data in relation to SSAILD and Insight,
    • supporting and promoting Gaelic medium education, Gaelic learning and Scots, including consideration of Gaelic and Scots issues and opportunities,
    • further embedding anti-racist principles within the education system, including diversity in the workforce
    • progress with the next phase of expansion of Free School Meals
    • Embedding participatory budgeting in the education system




What this looks like in practice:


  • To communicate effectively with ADES President; Vice President; General Secretary and Executive Committee on all aspects of work with Scottish Government
  • To liaise with COSLA and advise COSLA officers on matters relating to education and children’s services
  • To liaise as required with other national agencies, including Education Scotland, SQA, Parent bodies and professional associations
  • To promote and develop ADES as an effective professional organisation and to represent ADES professionally and effectively in a range of contexts


How is the role of Executive Officer funded:

  • The role of the Executive Officer is jointly funded by ADES and by the Scottish Government via a grant from Scottish Government to ADES.  The post is dependent on the continuation of funding from Scottish Government.
  • The time allocated to the role is up to a maximum of 125 days per year.
  • Collaborative Improvement work is over and above the 125 days per year.





How is the role of Executive Officer funded?

The role of the Executive Officer is jointly funded by ADES and by the Scottish Government via a grant from Scottish Government to ADES. The post is dependent on the continuation of funding from Scottish Government

What time-commitment for this role?

The time allocated to the role is up to a maximum of 125 days per year


Professional Development Officer (Lead): Colin Grant

Email Contact:

What is the role of ADES Professional Development Officer (Lead)

In general the role of ADES officer is to support the President and Vice President through: representation of ADES as a positive contributor to the Education System; strategic development of the ADES offer and organisational arrangements; ensuring the implementation of the decisions and strategies taken by the ADES Executive, Directors’ Forum and Professional Networks; reporting directly to members using the relevant social media platforms on a regular basis; formal and informal support for colleagues


Specific responsibilities include:

  1. Strategic development of the professional learning agenda for ADES Members
  2. Development and oversight of a bespoke communication platform for ADES Members
  3. Development, scoping and  delivery of a range of relevant professional development opportunities for ADES members and partners
  4. Strategic support for RIC Leads on the development of Regional Improvement Collaborative framework with SG and ES
  5. Professional support to the Regional Improvement Collaboratives as required
  6. Liaison with The Staff College (in England) on the organisation and delivery of a range of programmes and events, including:
  • the ADES Annual Conference;
  • the ADES Summer School;
  • ADES Network meetings; and
  • other events as required


  1. As Director of the Staff College Scotland, to liaise with the General Secretary and Treasurer and report on finances
  2. Delivery of annual report to ADES AGM
  3. One of 3 ASES Leads for Collaborative Improvement


How is the role of Professional Development Officer funded?
The role of the Executive Officer is funded by ADES and by the Regional Improvement Collaboratives.


What is the time-commitment for this role?
The time allocated to the role is up to a maximum of 125 days per year