The driving force behind East Renfrewshire’s educational excellence is set to wipe the chalkboard clean for the last time.

Mhairi Shaw has worked for seven years as director of education for the council but has decided to retire.

That will see her step down at the end of August – and she will leave a legacy of continued improvement in educational attainment in East Renfrewshire.

Of her decision, Mhairi said: “It has been an honour and privilege to work in ERC.

“I believe I will be leaving, although heavy-hearted, with our schools and the department in very good health.

“I wish all my colleagues, all of our schools, children, young people and staff, my very best wishes for the future.”

Having worked there for 19 years, Mhairi first joined the council as head teacher of Mearns Primary before moving onto become head of education services, and finally as director of education.

During her time in the role, she has overseen significant improvements in the school estate, managing large-scale curriculum changes and ensuring pupil equity was at the heart of the constant drive to improve attainment for all.

Her experience and success has been recognised nationally through her involvement in national advisory groups and her appointment as lead for the West Partnership education improvement collaborative.

Paying tribute to the contribution of Mhairi, the convener for education and equalities for the council said Mhairi had made an “immense contribution” to the lives of thousands of pupils.

Councillor Paul O’Kane added: “She has led a committed and talented team with distinction and has always left no stone unturned when striving for the very best for every child and young person across East Renfrewshire.

“We wish her a healthy and happy retirement, and she undoubtedly leaves a fantastic legacy which will continue in the years ahead.”

During her time from 2001 to 2004 at Mearns, Mhairi oversaw the transfer of a new school building – one of the largest in Scotland – with a capacity for 900 pupils and 120 nursery children.

She then moved to the role of head of education services, which saw her take charge of early learning and childcare, staffing, quality improvement, planning, inclusion and special education.

She also led the implementation of curriculum for excellence in East Renfrewshire, before taking up the post of director of education in October 2013.

The search is now on for a successor, with the job set to be advertised on March 13 and interviews held in May.

This will allow sufficient time for the recruitment process and for a well-organised handover.