The Church of England has a new Director of Education.
Blackburn diocese has appointed former Chorley teacher Stephen Whittaker to the top post.
He has a wide range of experience in the teaching profession, the majority of it in the diocese.
Mr Whittaker, who lives in Clayton-le-Woods,near Chorley, takes up the post in April.
He started his career at St James CE Primary School in Lower Darwen then moved to become deputy headteacher at St John’s CE and Methodist Primary School in Brinscall, near Chorley.
In September 2003 he was appointed headteacher at nearby St Peter’s Chorley CE Primary School.
Married with two children, Mr Whittaker, 43, is currently head of the junior school of the boys’ division of Bolton School.
He is also on the private school’s management team responsible for pupils aged from seven to 18.
The new director said he had an “open door” policy and was hoping to visit as many schools and headteachers as possible , as well as talking to pupils, governors, clergy, Parochial Church Councils and people working with young people across the diocese .
He said: “These are exciting and challenging times to be working in education and I am pleased to have been appointed as the next director of education for the diocese.
“The importance of working with and developing our young people in environments that value and uphold strong Christian values cannot be overstated.”
An active member of Leyland Methodist Church, he enjoys music, gardening, cycling and writing plays for children in his spare time.
The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev Julian Henderson, added: “I am delighted we have been able to appoint someone of Stephen’s calibre to the important role of director of education and look forward to working with him.”
Archdeacon Michael Everitt, chairman of the Diocesan Board of Education, said: “Stephen’s range of experience, passion for the gospel and for children’s learning means he is ideal to lead our excellent board of education as it serves the parishes, Anglican and Methodist schools in our area and works with the whole range of organisations who with this seek to shape children and young people in the faith.”