North Ayrshire’s education chief will be moving on from the local authority.

John Butcher, who was appointed the Executive Director in 2014, left North Ayrshire Council last Wednesday.

North Ayrshire Council refused to comment on the circumstances of the sudden departure.

However the local authority said the Executive Director had made an invaluable contribution and driven up education standards across the area during his time.

A spokesperson for North Ayrshire Council said: “We can confirm that John Butcher left his post as Executive Director of Education and Youth Employment on Wednesday, July 25.

“While we do not normally comment on individual members of staff, we wish to pass on our best wishes to John for his dedication to driving up educational standards across North Ayrshire and pushing forward with innovations to improve the quality of learning in all our schools.

“His contribution has been invaluable and we wish him every success in his future endeavours.”

Mr Butcher replaced previous office holder Carol Kirk back in 2014.

He grew up in West Kilbride and was educated at the local primary school before completing his education at Ardrossan Academy.

John was previously Head of Service for Inclusion at Glasgow City Council, with strategic responsibility for education establishments in the south of the city.

Mr Butcher began his career as a teacher at James Hamilton Academy in Kilmarnock and has postgraduate Social Work and Mental Health Officer qualifications.

He was children’s services manager in North Lanarkshire working for Social Work, NHS and Education before joining Glasgow City council in 2005.

He was appointed Head of Service in 2007 and took strategic responsibility for the Development of Early Years and schools before later taking on his Executive Director role.