A new head of children's services has been appointed for the Isle of Wight and when he starts, in February, he will be faced with tackling the problem of too many places in primary schools versus the number of pupils, as well as the challenge of going it alone, after Hampshire ended its ten-year partnership with County Hall.

Ashley Whittaker will be the new director for children, young people and families.

He has previously held teaching and leadership roles and worked across a range of children's services including education, health, social care and special educational needs and disabilities, the Isle of Wight Council said.

He also has experience of working alongside the the voluntary sector.

He said: "I am very much looking forward to meeting and working with colleagues both inside and outside the council and of course with the children, young people and families we serve. 

"Establishing an independent children's services directorate within the council following the cessation of arrangements with Hampshire is an exciting opportunity to build on the improvements and progress of recent years.

"I'm also looking forward to working collaboratively and in partnership to make the life outcomes for children on the Isle of Wight as good as they can be."

Mr Whittaker was welcomed by IW Council's chief executive, Wendy Perera, who said he would be "an inspirational director who is committed to driving forward our vision, with a passion to support our communities into the future."

Councillor Jonathan Bacon, cabinet member for children's services, said: "There are some very big issues to deal with in the coming months and years, but the changes we are going through and the appointment of Ashley means we will be in an excellent place to address these issues and to realise the great opportunities the changes in fact present us with.

"I am very much looking forward to working with Ashely as we establish our newly independent children's services department and take things forward for our Island children."

Mr Whittaker is expected to start on February 1.