BLACKBURN with Darwen’s director of schools and education has quit after less than two years because of ‘family illness’.

Lisa Bibby will not be immediately replaced in her £71,000 plus role and her duties will be covered by other senior staff.

Ms Bibby, who graduated from Southampton University in 1987, said: “Due to family illness over several months, I have reconsidered my personal priorities and decided that I need to work part-time and this is not possible in my current role.

“However, this gives the council the opportunity to redesign its education leadership arrangements, in partnership with schools, and I believe that this is an exciting opportunity to do things differently and I am fully supportive.”

Council executive member for schools and education Dave Harling said he was disappointed but understood her reasons.

“As she has said in her statement, this does present us with an opportunity to review and develop further the support we provide for schools, which is important given the challenges they face,” he added and went on: “We have been working closely with headteachers to ensure we best meet their needs and the changes we will now be making following this news will support this work further.”

Council chief executive Harry Catherall said: “I wish Lisa all the very best for the future and thank her for her fantastic contribution to the council, in particular the legacy she leaves from spearheading the £200m plus investment in our secondary schools, which is already contributing to further positive outcomes for our young people.”

Ms Bibby became director of schools and education at Blackburn with Darwen Council in March 2012 having worked with the council and Bolton borough on the Building Schools for the Future programme for six years.

From August 2004 to June 2006, she was programme director of North West Collaboration for Children.