Education Scotland's interim chief executive Gillian Hamilton paid a visit to her old school in Stewarton recently.

Ms Hamilton is a former pupil of Nether Robertland Primary School - and was head teacher there from 2000-2004.

The return home was part of a day in East Ayrshire, to find out more about innovative local projects like Skills and Learning 33 (SL33), tour local schools and engaging with children and young people.

The visit began at Council HQ with a meeting with Linda McAulay-Griffiths, chief education officer and head of education, and chief executive Eddie Fraser, before a fact-finding visit to SL33 in Kilmarnock – a purpose built skills and learning hub, where young people at risk of disengaging, are supported into further learning, training or employment.

The day ended with a visit to Nether Robertland Primary School, where Gillian was a pupil between 1972 and 1980, and had then been head teacher.

The school was so excited to welcome her back ‘home’ and made sure that she received an incredibly warm welcome.

There was even a surprise guest – Mrs Amy Young who was Gillian’s P1 teacher at Nether Robertland and who inspired her to become a teacher.

Mrs Young gave 32 years of devoted service to the children and young people of Stewarton and retired when Gillian was head teacher.

Gillian said: “It was a privilege to return to East Ayrshire, and to spend time with colleagues old and new to hear about the range of work underway to improve outcomes and support the learning of all young people in East Ayrshire.

"My visit to SL33 was inspiring – I loved meeting the young people and hearing directly from them about their own learning and the impact that their engagement with the SL33 team is having on their lives.

“The opportunity to visit Stewarton Academy, Nether Robertland ELCC and Nether Robertland Primary School was really special – an emotional end to a really inspiring day.

"Stewarton and Nether Robertland hold a really special place in my heart – and the surprise appearance of Mrs Young definitely made it a day to remember.”

Linda McAulay-Griffiths, the council’s chief education officer and head of education, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Gillian back to her “home” authority and to share some of the great practice in and around SL33, our schools and ECCs, as well as a chance to have extended dialogue about Scottish education in general.

"We are incredibly fortunate to be working under Gillian’s leadership and welcome the positive collaborative culture she has built in her short time in this role.”