Firstly a thank you to Ann McIntosh and Pam Nesbitt and the other members of the National Executive who over the last few years have supported, encouraged and allowed me to represent you in a variety of roles within our association. I joined AHDS as a new HT around 14 years ago. I became interested in developing that link further through our local network in Moray and was soon local Chairperson and developing further the existing Moray network. I then was fortunate to be nominated by my local association at National Council and I “got the bug”. I wanted to know more about the systems, which operated at local and national level, and so when urged by members of the Executive I stood to be the Early Years rep and was successful. I then over time held Executive Member and latterly Vice President before taking on the role of President at this years AGM.

So what now? Well as an association we need to continue to develop and grow, we need to support and encourage our local networks and those who embark on the route to Headship be it PT, DHT or newly appointed HT. We need to continue to provide high quality training to support our members working closely with our colleagues in Education Scotland, SCEL and Scottish Government to move forward local and national agendas. We need to caution and continue to advise and put forward using rigorous evidence and information from members our case when we wish to challenge or question policy or actions coming from Government. At the same time we need to be able to offer alternatives, which we are happy with as an association and not be bulldozed into something that does not improve the profession or the outcomes for those we teach. We can never stop the wheels of change but we can direct it to meet the needs of the learners. Over the years we have built excellent relationships with both Government and those in opposition, we have built a network across the key players in Education Scotland and have worked closely to joint badge and run excellent training activities for our members. We need to continue to grow that working across all stakeholders to ensure we have a voice and can inform and guide those who govern us.

The future? A continuing time of change and challenge, in the melting pot, NIF, Tackling Bureaucracy, The Children’s and Young Peoples Bill, Named Person, GIRFEC to name but a few. Add to that the next Autumn Budget due in the next few weeks, which will undoubtedly impact on Scottish Government and find its way to LA’s and ultimately impact on what we have available to us in our schools. However we will still be expected to do the job and more with less and smile in the process. We as an association will need to ensure we address the issues, prioritise and focus on those that will increase our workload, or reduce our ability to do the job, or impact on our future prospects and those who are following us into leadership. We will have to ensure we have a voice and use it, local, nationally and internationally when required, whether it is to share our expertise or to argue against something which threatens our professional stance. We need to work smarter, share within our networks and across our authorities good practice, resources and collegiality working. We need to support members who are struggling where we can whilst at the same time ensuring our professional support is maintained.

As you will appreciate we are again entering difficult times and will need to uphold our high standards of professional approach to all we do. I look forward to the next two years as your President and hope that you will take time to share with me your visions, your achievements and your aspirations. Keep me informed of what you want from your President and Executive. Your voice matters!