Education boss quits

Andrew Sutherland has stepped down.
Andrew Sutherland has stepped down.

North Lanarkshire Council’s director of education has quit after an investigation into the accuracy of data on teaching staff numbers.

Andrew Sutherland was suspended in November as the probe got underway and this week a council spokesman said: “Mr Sutherland has resigned from his post and is no longer an employee of the council.”

The council declined to comment on the situation, describing it as “a confidential employment matter”. It stressed he has not been paid to leave.

However, Central Scotland MSP John Wilson said: “The resignation of Andrew Sutherland and the allegedly false teacher figures require further scrutiny and investigation.

“His resignation comes at a time of several senior council officials taking early retirement within six months of the appointment of the new chief executive, Paul Jukes.

“It is worrying at a time of austerity that money is being used to top up pension pots to allow senior staff to retire early.”

Mr Sutherland took up his post with North Lanarkshire only three years ago, having held a similar job at Falkirk Council.

The revelation that he had been suspended shocked colleagues with one councillor saying it had come “out of the blue”.

Earlier this year the council was fined £713,00 by the Scottish Government for failing to maintain teaching numbers at an agreed level. However, the authority said this was not linked to Mr Sutherland’s suspension.