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This website will be closed on 21 October 2019. Please visit for all information on the professional learning and leadership programmes, events and resources offered by Education Scotland.

Small but experienced

Our small, but strong team bring experience from right across the education system.

About Gillian Hamilton

Gillian Hamilton was appointed as Strategic Director when the roles and functions of the Scottish College for Educational Leadership (SCEL) transferred to Education Scotland on 01 April 2018. Gillian has responsibility for Professional Learning and Leadership, as well as for Organisational Development within Education Scotland. Prior to the transfer, Gillian was the first Chief Executive of SCEL at its inception in 2014.

Gillian has worked in Scottish education for 28 years and has held posts as a primary teacher, senior teacher, depute headteacher and headteacher in schools in Glasgow, North and East Ayrshire.

Gillian was Head of Educational Services at GTC Scotland for three years before becoming Chief Executive where she led the revision of the Professional Standards and the pilot programmes of Professional Update, which was rolled out nationally in August 2014.

She has been a member of a number of national educational groups with a focus on professional learning and leadership. She is currently a member of the Strategic Board for Teacher Education and the Head Teacher Recruitment working group.

About Lesley Whelan

From 1 April 2018, when SCEL and its programmes transferred to Education Scotland, Lesley was appointed as Director of SCEL Programmes  with responsibility for SCEL’s suite of programmes and the Framework for Educational Leadership.

Prior to that Lesley was SCEL’s Depute Chief executive and Director of Programmes.

Lesley took up post as SCEL’s Depute Chief Executive and Director of Programmes in February 2015. Before joining SCEL, Lesley worked in the College sector for over 20 years in three different colleges and with the College Development Network (formerly SFEU) where she led the organisation’s work on Governance and Leadership and Management Development. Before joining the college sector Lesley worked with the John Lewis Partnership.

Lesley’s time at the College Development Network was focused on developing leadership capacity and capability in the college sector. This included the development of a Masters in Management for Tertiary Education with the University of Stirling. Lesley led the Leading and Learning development programme aimed at principals and senior college leaders, introduced the first development programme for college board members, developed and delivered programmes for emerging leaders with a focus on creativity in education, had responsibility for the Emporium of Dangerous Ideas and supported a number of networks across the college sector including the Marketing Network and Marketing Awards, the HR and OD Network and was the Secretary to Board of Management Network. Lesley also project managed the work to develop a Code of Good Governance for Scotland’s Colleges.

Since joining SCEL, Lesley has worked with the team on the design, development and implementation of the new national Into Headship qualification, the development and launch of the online Framework for Educational Leadership and the organisation’s new website. A next focus will be the creation of a suite of programmes to support developments in educational leadership at all levels.

About Annette Beaton

Annette Beaton joined SCEL in May 2018 to take up the post of Lead Specialist with responsibility for system leadership, which includes the Leading Systems Change programme and the second system leadership programme to be introduced, Evolving Systems Thinking. Prior to working with SCEL, Annette was appointed to the post of headteacher of Crieff Primary School in 2012 as her second headship, the first being the Royal School of Dunkeld. Annette trained as a primary teacher, as a teacher of the deaf and held leadership posts in two local authorities prior to becoming headteacher.

In recent years Annette’s work has had a particular focus on Social Justice Leadership and how inclusive practice in schools is critical to improve attainment and achievement for young people experiencing social and economic disadvantage.

Annette participated in the first SCEL Fellowship programme during her second headship. Her area of enquiry throughout the SCEL Fellowship programme, alongside its particular focus on developing outstanding headteachers as system leaders, contributing to school improvement within, and beyond schools in the wider context of Scottish education, was on developing high quality leadership in Inclusive Practice.

Since being awarded SCEL Fellowship in 2015, Annette has had a wide variety of opportunities to continue with her own learning. She has represented SCEL nationally and internationally, worked with the Ontario Principals Council, participated in the Deputy First Minister’s Teachers Panel and worked within her own local authority to contribute towards school and system improvement.

About Alison Weatherston

Alison Weatherston joined SCEL in July 2018, as Lead Specialist with responsibility for school leadership, including the programmes for Into Headship, In Headship and Towards Headship.

Alison has had a career of over 30 years in education with a background in primary teaching, working in Glasgow, East Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire. After 12 years as a depute headteacher she became headteacher of Heathery Knowe Primary School in 2011.

In 2016, Alison was seconded to the strategic role of Lead Officer for School Leadership in South Lanarkshire Council, supporting and developing the professional learning of school leaders at all levels. She has a particular commitment to using coaching as a tool for professional growth and promoted its development throughout South Lanarkshire’s professional learning activities, developing a network of experienced coaches. Through her role, Alison also developed an interest in the recruitment and retention of teachers.

In a changing educational landscape, her personal energy and drive come from motivating, encouraging and supporting school leaders to continue to make a positive difference to young people and as lead specialist, looks forward to developing programmes that reflect the evolving roles of school leaders.

About David Burgess

David Burgess joined SCEL in August 2018 to take up the post of Lead Specialist with responsibility for middle leadership.

David has had a 20-year career in education, starting as a history teacher in Fife local authority. David has had a number of leadership roles which include: assistant principal teacher of guidance, principal teacher of pupil support, principal teacher of history, principal teacher of curriculum social subjects before being appointed depute headteacher of Inverkeithing High School and then depute headteacher of Dunfermline High School.

In 2014, David was seconded to the post of professional learning and leadership development officer for Fife local authority. Part of his role involved developing, writing and delivering leadership courses for staff at all levels within the authority. David worked closely with Edinburgh University and was involved in the development and delivery of a masters level course for middle leaders. He achieved a diploma in coaching and used this to support the professional learning of all staff.

David is excited about supporting the professional learning development of middle leaders and the positive impact that this can have on improving outcomes for all young people.

About Jacqueline Morley

Jacqueline Morley is seconded to SCEL as a lead specialist for professional learning from her substantive post within GTC Scotland as senior education officer for professional learning and leadership.

Within GTC Scotland Jacqueline’s key areas of work focused on leadership and support for career long professional learning, in particular the GTCS Professional Learning Awards. Her work included the structures and support systems which enable education professionals to engage in meaningful professional learning and to reflect on the impact of this on their knowledge, skills and abilities.

Prior to joining the GTC Scotland, Jacqueline was continuing professional development manager for Scottish Borders Council for over ten years where she worked extensively on professional learning and leadership support provision across the council with a particular emphasis on the needs of teachers and school leaders. She built a strong coaching and mentoring culture with most professional learning programmes supported by coaching or action learning set work.

Jacqueline began her career as a primary school teacher in London before moving to teach overseas for a number of years. She has worked in adult learning and teacher education for over 30 years and was vice principal of a large private language school in Scotland before moving to take up post in Scottish Borders.

She is passionate about the importance of support provisions for education professionals that enable children, young people and adult learners achieve the best possible outcomes. She has worked in partnership with SCEL and GTC Scotland for many years serving on various professional panels and contributing to the creation of the GTC Professional Standards.

About Gordon Bone

Gordon joined SCEL on a two-year secondment in September 2018, as lead specialist for the Excellence in Headship programme.

In his 30-year career, Gordon has been a headteacher for 13 years. He has worked in a range of schools in different local authorities such as East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire and South Ayrshire, where he has been headteacher of Prestwick Academy since June 2008.

Gordon has worked nationally and locally on developments such as Higher Still, Curriculum for Excellence and Developing the Young Workforce. He also worked for the GTCS on programmes such as the Flexible Route to Headship and more recently served on panels for their Professional Learning Award.

Gordon has experience of working nationally with secondary headteacher colleagues and looks forward to working with all headteachers through the Excellence in Headship programme to ensure opportunities for professional learning are of the highest quality to meet the needs of headteachers at a time of change in the system.

About Lise McCaffery

Lise McCaffery joined SCEL as a lead specialist for professional learning in January 2019.

Having completed her Masters in education with a specialism in mathematics pedagogies, she was regional director of primary engineer delivering STEM professional learning throughout Scotland. She led their professional recognition and Master’s-level programmes, partnering with the University of Strathclyde, to build enquiry-based approaches to improving STEM teaching and learning. She was recognised with an Excellence Award in Professional Recognition by GTCS in September 2017.

Lise was the lead practitioner of a family learning centre for five years and went on to become a senior curriculum manager within Explore Learning, a network of learning centres in the UK and US. She was responsible for professional learning of staff across the UK and recruited and lead a team of practitioner experts who co-designed and co-delivered that learning.

Her passion in education stems from her parents, who established the first integrated schools in Northern Ireland (Hazelwood nursery, primary and secondary schools) in the 1980s, educating Catholics and Protestants together during the Troubles.

About Stephanie Ross

Stephanie joined SCEL in February 2019 to take up the post of Lead Specialist with responsibility for professional learning and teacher leadership.

Stephanie has come from several years of classroom practice in Glasgow and Falkirk to take up her role with SCEL. She feels that having recent classroom knowledge and experience will greatly benefit her understanding of the practitioners she will work with through SCEL.

Stephanie first came to work with SCEL through a conversation on Twitter, from which she became a critical friend on the Teacher Leadership Programme. Following on from this, she participated in the Supporting Teacher Leadership Programme and also co-facilitated this.

Stephanie is passionate about practitioner enquiry and professional learning. She has completed her Masters in Educational Studies at Glasgow University focusing on sex, gender and stereotyping in the classroom. Stephanie has also spoken about her enquiry experiences at the Scottish Learning Festival.

Stephanie is enthusiastic about supporting the professional learning and leadership development of classroom teachers and the positive impact that this can have on improving outcomes for all young people.

About Lesley Walker

Lesley joined the SCEL team in March 2019 as one of the Lead Specialists for Professional Learning.

Lesley trained as a primary school teacher at the University of Cambridge and taught both north and south of the border for twelve years before being seconded into the Scottish Executive’s National Health Demonstration Project, Healthy Respect, as a Primary Education Specialist, in 2005. The focus of the work was improving outcomes for young people around sexual health, emotional wellbeing and relationships, using an evidence-based approach combining education, services for young people and an integrated communications programme.

From there Lesley moved into the role of Senior Health Promotion Specialist with NHS Lothian, leading public health programmes over a number of years for schools, care experienced children and young people and sexual health. She worked with a wide range of stakeholders locally and nationally to develop interventions around RSHP education, gender-based violence prevention, mental health and pregnancy and parenthood in young people, with a particular focus on school and family connectedness.

Most recently Lesley was Professional Learning Co-ordinator with the Educational Institute of Scotland, where she worked closely with Scottish Union Learning and other partners to provide a wide range of professional learning opportunities. She also led areas of work focused on leadership learning for activists and action research grants for members.

Lesley is excited to have joined SCEL at a time of expansion and is passionate about high quality learning accessible to all in the system.

About Lee Dunn

Lee joined SCEL in March 2019 as Lead Specialist in Professional Learning with responsibility for the Framework.

Lee has worked across mixed education and policy settings, most recently as Senior Operations Manager and Head of Education Services and Digital Learning at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, where he was responsible for quality assurance and the provision of professional learning in partnership with BPP University and global accountancy firms Ernst and Young, PwC, KPMG and Deloitte.

Lee began his career in 2001 as a secondary school teacher before taking up a promoted post as Principal Teacher of Pupil Support. In 2009, he was seconded for two years to the Scottish Government Lifelong Learning Directorate, working on the national policy and practice framework for post-16 learning. He subsequently moved to a post as Senior Lecturer in Technology Education and Degree Programme Leader in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) at the University of Glasgow, where he holds a Senior Teaching Fellowship and Senior Fellowship of Advance HE (The Higher Education Academy). Lee was Coordinator of Technologies for undergraduate and postgraduate primary and secondary ITE programmes and he was the School of Education Academic Lead for Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching.

Lee has a passion for education, having worked in the same school and department as his father, who was also a teacher. Lee is a huge fan of science fiction. He has authored his own novel and is now working on his second. In his spare time, he enjoys cycling, football and spending time with his family and friends.

About Alison Allan

Alison has a background in local government working as a Senior Manager in Education with North Ayrshire Council. Alison’s key expertise in local government relates to professional learning and leadership across primary, secondary and ASN schools, from student teachers and probationers through to teachers, middle leaders, DHTs and headteachers. Alison also has experience as a local area manager for schools across North Ayrshire, with key responsibility for quality improvement. Alison has represented ADES on the National GTCS Professional Update group and has been a local authority representative on the Into Headship design group. Alison is also an advocate for the GTCS Professional Excellence Awards.

Alison’s previous role was that of vice principal in the college sector and before that as an associate director, where she had overall responsibility for learning and teaching. Alison also worked for Education Scotland as an Associate Assessor for 10 years.

Born in Dundee and brought up in Fife, Alison moved to Ayrshire in 2002. She is happily married to Garry and between them they have five children. Alison studied and lived in England in the late 1980s, where she completed a degree in English, whilst also competing as an international sprinter. She later returned to university to complete a Masters in Management and later completed her postgraduate qualifications in teaching with distinction.

Alison has taken on the role of lead specialist for the Excellence in Headship programme.

About Andrew Travis

Andrew joined SCEL in April 2019 on a two-year secondment as a lead specialist for the Excellence in Headship programme.

He has taught for over 30 years in schools across North-East Scotland and was the headteacher of Meldrum Academy in Aberdeenshire for 11 years.

Andrew is a SCEL Fellow and holds a Masters in Education. He was a SCEL Regional Leader and has represented SCEL at international conferences. He has a strong interest in coaching and has supported colleagues undertaking headship programmes. He was involved in a number of local, regional and national initiatives and was a member of the national Teacher Panel.

He looks forward to facilitating the learning of colleagues as they take an active role in an enabled and empowered system.

About Lorna Hume

Lorna joined the SCEL team in November 2015 and is now our full time Events Assistant. On joining the team, Lorna was  originally responsible for a wide range of administrative tasks but played an increasingly important role in the organisation, planning and successful execution of our growing number of events and professional learning opportunities. She is now responsible for organising and promoting all SCEL events and conferences.

Lorna brings valuable experience to the team at SCEL from previous employment within Social Work Department, the National Health Service and the Scottish Children’s Reporter’s Administration. Lorna also spent five years working in schools as Classroom Assistant and Clerical Assistant. She gained invaluable experience whilst in school, organising all the school outings and events. She was also a Children’s Panel member for 10 years.