Learning, Development & Quality Improvement



Norma Ruettimann, Head of Quality and Learning

Having taken a career break from my conference and banqueting role to have children, I became involved in toddlers and playgroup as a volunteer, then practitioner then as a part-time development officer in Badenoch and Strathspey. Fast forward several years, my son and daughter are all grown up and my role in CALA has grown and diversified.

I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved in developing and delivering a variety of projects, training & quality improvement and have travelled many miles across Highland and Moray and other local authorities in the process. As Education Scotland say “every day’s a learning day” and with ongoing developments and expansion in child care and learning, there is always an interesting new challenge and learning gained from the inspiring adults and children I come into contact with.

I spend my time between Highland and Glasgow and enjoy walking, yoga,  eating out and going to music events (not necessarily in that order!)

Marion Laidlaw, Quality Manager

I started my working life as a social worker but when my children came along, decided I’d much rather work with wee ones. I got involved as a parent with my local playgroup then started working there in 1995 and haven’t looked back since! In 2011, I took on a rewarding role as Childhood Practice Manager which allowed me to combine working with children and supporting staff to develop their skills as practitioners – the best of both worlds! This has naturally led to my current role, as I have the privilege of working with people across the breadth of CALA services.

The aim is to continually develop high-quality practice to provide the very best for children and families. No two days are the same: different people and places to see, and always something new to learn!

Outside of work, I enjoy music, cooking and baking but most especially spending time with my family including discovering the great joy of being a Grandma – all the fun without the responsibility

Corrina Shearer, Learning & Digital Development Manager

I live in Dulnain Bridge in the Badenoch & Strathspey area where I am fortunate enough to have beautiful views of the Cairngorm Mountains from my windows. In my spare time, I love walking and cycling with my two dogs Kylo and Hughie.

My working life has always been in Early Learning and Childcare in a variety of roles across England and Scotland. My role as Learning and Digital Development Manager for CALA is incredibly varied and offers exciting and different challenges each day creating learning materials and resources to help practitioners and students continuously develop to be their best for the children and young people that they provide for.

Murray MacBean – Learning, Development and Administration Coordinator

My name is Murray MacBean and I have lived in Inverness all my life. I love the Scottish Highlands and enjoy exploring it with my partner, Shirley, daughter, Sophie and Chewie the dog. After 13 years working in an ambulance control room, I decided to return to university to study Geography (my picture shows me on a field trip on the Morteratsch glacier in the Swiss Alps). I achieved a First-Class Honours in Geography, followed by a Masters in Sustainable Energy Solutions and during the course of my studies, I developed a desire to promote the sustainability of rural communities.

After university, I was lucky enough to be recruited by CALA to participate in a research project which explored the challenges of delivering the expanded 1140 hours of ELC in rural communities. Having performed a couple of temporary roles thereafter, I am delighted to now join CALA in a permanent role, and look forward to helping the Learning, Development and Quality Improvement team deliver the changes that will help CALA to continue to deliver quality family support and child development services to everyone in these challenging times.

Connie Spouge – Play and Learning Adviser

Having changed my career path after having children I was introduced into a career working with children. The change in direction introduced me to a new found enthusiasm and passion for work. My career has seen me working with children of all ages and it has led to me becoming a huge advocate of play for children. Having been offered the position within the Active Play programme seemed like fate and a job specifically made for me. I love been able to build relationships with children through play and watch how their curious and adventurous minds develop and discover the world around them.

I live in Forres, Moray with my two beautiful girls and my husband. I love spending time with my family and friends, spending as much time as possible outdoors. We have the most fun together climbing trees, beach trips, woodland walks and discovering new places around our beautiful local area.