GLASGOW’S top education boss has announced she will retire after 14 years as the head of the city’s schools and nurseries. 

Maureen McKenna, who earned an OBE for her services to education, will step down at the end of this year after leading a transformational change in across all levels of learning in Glasgow.

The news has been met with tributes to the legacy Maureen will leave behind as she leaves the role of executive director of education. 

Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, outlined Glasgow’s education successes on Maureen’s watch.

She said: “During the last 14 years Maureen has led the city’s education service with over 12,000 staff and with them has changed the landscape of education in the city.

“Maureen’s first and last thoughts are always with Glasgow’s children and young people – she puts them at the heart of every decision we make.

“They say that teaching is a vocation – and there is not a truer word to describe Maureen and her commitment to education.

“Teaching in a big city like ours can often be challenging – but despite the issues many of our families face – our schools and nurseries have never been more successful and that is down to the hard work, dedication and passion shown by Maureen, her leadership team, head office staff, and all our staff in schools and nurseries.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Maureen for her determination and hard work during her time as our education director – she is a dominant force of nature and her legacy will live on in our pupils and their families and continue to impact for many years

“Maureen will be a hard act to follow.”

Maureen’s main focus during her tenure has been on the power of nurture for Glasgow’s children, young people, and their families and Glasgow’s aspiration to be a nurturing city is sector leading.

There have been significant increases in attainment and achievement with more young people leaving to go to higher and further education than ever before and a vast drop in exclusions – down 94% since 2007.

Key highlights in the last few years include outstanding recognition for Glasgow’s learning and teaching practices. 

The success in reducing exclusions and youth violence has resulted in a number of English local authorities and the London VRU looking to Glasgow to learn.

Glasgow Times:

In March 2019 Education Services received an excellent report card from Education Scotland for improving learning, raising attainment and achievement across the city and making excellent progress in closing the national poverty related attainment gap.

In 2015, Maureen was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list for services to education in Glasgow and Malawi – Maureen is the founding member of Malawi Leaders of Learning (MLOL) set up in 2011 to share learning and teaching good practice and keep girls in education in Malawi.

Maureen said: “I came to Glasgow in December 2007 because I love Glasgow and I knew education in the city could achieve so much more than it was doing at that time and together we have, over the years, proven that we have made the right transformational changes to improve the life chances of our pupils.

“Working in Glasgow has never been an easy shift, but it is unbelievably rewarding when we know that we are making a difference in the support given to our families.

“Education in the city is changing lives for the better and it will continue to do so because you and your staff are passionate about this commitment to your families.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the work that our schools and nurseries do every day, and this is much more than learning and teaching – it is well documented how our nurturing approaches and early interventions are turning lives around.

“The last 18 months have been very challenging but the leadership from our schools has been inspiring to say the least.

“We have got through this time with compassion, teamwork and empowerment at all levels and I want to take this opportunity to pass on my heartfelt thanks once again.

“I will always love Glasgow, I love my job and will be forever grateful that I was able to work with you all to deliver the very best education, which is what our children and young people deserve.

“I know that the city will continue to go from strength to strength with nurture at the heart of everything we do.”

Recruitment for the new Executive Director of Education opens on Friday with national adverts.