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Education / Budge to retire after 13 years as children’s services director

IT WILL be the end of an era in Shetland Islands Council’s children’s services team later this year as director Helen Budge gets set to retire.

She has held the position for the last 13 years, and will retire in September.

Budge began her career as a teacher in 1989 at the Urafirth Primary School, and then in Dunrossness.

She moved into central management in 1999 and undertook several roles before becoming the director in 2011.

Outgoing children’s services director Helen Budge.

This role includes Shetland’s early learning and childcare, primary and secondary schools, as well as children’s social work, the library service, sport and leisure, and youth and employability.

She has also represented Shetland at a national level, sitting on the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, and the General Teaching Council for Scotland, and was involved in the Northern Alliance.

She is moving on from Shetland Islands Council to support her family at their farm in Bigton.

“My service to education and bairns has been wholly in Shetland,” Budge said.

“I am proud to have led the children’s services directorate and have had a fantastic team of officers working with me. I am honoured to have served the bairns, their families and the community of Shetland during this time.

“I have two passions – education and children’s services, and farming and family, so I am now going to shift the balance back to farming. What a privilege that da lasses want me to help them. I love my job and have enjoyed working with many wonderful folk over the years. I have always said ‘family first’ so it is now time for me to take my own advice.”

Maggie Sandison, the council’s chief executive, said: “I’ve always admired Helen for her strength, determination and care for her work colleagues, as well as the thousands of pupils who have passed through our schools over the years.

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“The council owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Helen for the unwavering dedication, passion and commitment that she has shown in her leadership of our children’s services.

“Helen’s professionalism, her focus on problem-solving, her willingness to face tough challenges head on, and her compassion for our most vulnerable children and families has left an indelible mark on our organisation and the countless individuals who have been supported by our services.”

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