West Lothian education chief retires after 38 years

Moira Niven was awarded the MBE for her services to education
Moira Niven was awarded the MBE for her services to education

One of West Lothian’s most prominent education figures and an MBE awardee has retired after almost 38 years of public service.

Moira Niven has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in education and has overseen significant improvements across West Lothian’s schools. Under her stewardship, attainment in West Lothian is now at its highest ever level.

She has also been West Lothian Council’s depute chief executive since 2011 with responsibility for all of the council’s education, planning and area services.

Council leader John McGinty said: “Moira has had an outstanding career and has driven advances within education to improve the life learning and career prospects of many thousands of children and staff.

“During her time as depute chief executive attainment across all age groups in West Lothian has continued to increase and is now better than ever before.”

Moira was previously the council’s head of service for schools with education support and started her teaching career in 1977 at James Gillespie’s High School in Edinburgh as a business studies teacher.

She moved to Balerno High School in 1983 as principal teacher for business studies. In 1989 she was appointed acting assistant head teacher at Balerno and was responsible for the senior school and adult education.

Between 1991 and 1995 she worked for Lothian Regional Council as an assistant to the director of education.

Moira joined West Lothian Council in November 1995 when she took up her post as head of planning and resources for education, where she played a pivotal role in setting up the local authority’s education service. She was awarded an MBE for Services to Education in 2010.

She has a real interest in extra-curricular activities and as a teacher was involved with outdoor education activities such as hill walking, canoeing and hockey.

She said: “It has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve the West Lothian community for so many years.

“I have been with West Lothian Council since 1995 and over that time I’ve worked with many talented and committed colleagues in education, other council services and with community planning partners.

“I would like to thank them all for their support.

“I’m looking forward to retirement and know that my colleagues will continue to strive to improve services and opportunities for the West Lothian community.”