ADES Association of Directors of
Education in Scotland

Summer Blog 2019


This is a busy period with a number of key developments and activities taking place. These can be summarised as:


The appointment process for the ADES Executive Officer (125 days per year) and the post of Professional Development Officer (30 days per year). The posts have become vacant as a result of the fact that Terry Lanagan, the current post holder, will retire in November 2019. All members were sent an email with full details about each post. The closing date is 2 August 2019 and the interviews are planned for the first week in September 2019. Members will be advised on the outcome. We wish Terry every success in his retirement.


An ‘Action Plan’ is being prepared to support the work of the Directors’ Forum. This will be developed over a period of time and will be used to inform the work of the Forum and to track the progress of initiatives. A draft Action Plan has been developed and will be presented at the September meeting of the Directors’ Forum. The agreed plan will be posted on the website.


The ADES review is almost complete and there has been some very helpful and constructive feedback. Emerging themes are that the actual working acronym ‘ADES’ should be retained since it is such a well-known brand; the membership scheme should be simplified and extended with a single membership tier (removal of the Associate Member status and voting rights for all) and the professional development role of ADES should be developed further. The review outcomes will be presented to the ADES Executive in September 2019 and will have to be agreed by members at the AGM in November 2019. Thereafter, the constitution will be revisited to reflect agreed cha ADES as a Peer Enabler.


Following the recent Joint Agreement, a key action point was that ADES work with SOLACE, COSLA and Education Scotland to support local authorities using a ‘peer mentoring’ model. To date there have been three pilot  initiatives involving Aberdeen City, Moray and Stirling and three additional events involving North Lanarkshire, East Lothian, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee. Emerging strengths of the model can be listed as:


  • The quality of input by ‘peer’ colleagues who have the knowledge and experience to provide insight and challenge.
  • The willingness of authorities to engage in the process to enhance their own learning potential.
  • The advance preparation by authority staff to set their unique agenda, provide clear information and share their strengths and improvement priorities with colleagues.
  • The opportunity to ‘grow and develop’ the system in a collegiate and collaborative fashion.
  • The support mechanisms offered through the wider ADES network.
  • The positive approach to the process using the ‘maximum impact – minimum intrusion’ approach.
  • The replacement of formal evaluations and external reports with professional dialogue, the sharing of strengths, constructive challenge  and bespoke feedback. 


Participation across each activity has been very positive with representation to date from almost every authority. Future events (post summer 2019) will be planned and spread throughout the school year to ensure that the demands placed on participants does not become too excessive. In addition, online and paper based formats will be developed so that good practice examples and the learning can be shared more widely.



Michael Wood
Michael Wood is the General Secretary of ADES. He took up post in May 2017 and actively supports all aspects of our work. During his career he has worked successfully at every level within the education system, from school to international level. His previous roles include: HT, HMIe, DofE and Executive Director of Children and Families Service (both Dundee). Michael has worked closely on varied projects with the University of Dundee, ADES and the Scottish Government, Education Scotland, COSLA, SCEL and the Robert Owen Institute for Research. In 2017 he set up an Educational Consultancy and was also appointed the post of Honorary Professor by the University of Dundee.