North Lanarkshire education boss suspended

Andrew Sutherland, right, with Councillor Jim Logue, convener of learning and leisure services.
Andrew Sutherland, right, with Councillor Jim Logue, convener of learning and leisure services.

North Lanarkshire Council’s education boss has been suspended as an investigation begins into the accuracy of data on teaching staff numbers.

The news has come ‘out of the blue’, according to a senior councillor.

A council spokesman said Andrew Sutherland has been suspended ‘pending an internal investigation’, adding: “The investigation concerns the maintenance and accuracy of data on numbers of teaching staff. There will be no further comment while this investigation takes place.”

A senior councillor said: “There was nothing suggesting this on the horizon. It has come right out of the blue.

“The first I heard was yesterday when I was told this action was necessary. I don’t know any of the detail.The matter will now be taken forward by our new chief executive, Paul Jukes.”

Mr Sutherland took up his post as executive director of learning and leisure services two years ago.

He was immediately embroiled in a row over plans to close Our Lady’s High School in Motherwell and Taylor High School in New Stevenston and re-locate both to a new campus at Ravenscraig. That proposal was eventually rejected by councillors after a massive protest campaign by parents.

Last year Mr Sutherland was forced into an embarrassing u-turn after telling pupils at schools in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth not to raise funds for Strathcarron Hospice. He had claimed, wrongly, that the Denny hospice didn’t provide services for people in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth.