Larry Flanagan said it had been a “honour” to serve as the general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) trade union.
It comes in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has included two spells where schools across Scotland have been closed with youngsters instead doing learning at home.
During the pandemic, Mr Flanagan, a former English teacher, has served on the Scottish Government’s Covid Education Recovery Group (CERG), using this to make the case for strong safety measures to be put in place to protect students and teachers in the classroom.
While he is stepping down as EIS general secretary, he will retain his role as the president of the European Trade Union Committee for Education.
While working for the EIS he has also managed to retain his status as a registered teacher, by doing regular teaching stints in schools, so could still return to the classroom in the future.
Mr Flanagan, who submitted his resignation to the union on Friday, said: “It has been an honour to serve Scotland’s teaching professionals and Scottish education as the general secretary of the EIS for the past ten years.
“I have sought to bring my 33 years experience as a classroom teacher to the fore in my role as general secretary and I remain deeply convinced about the strength of our education system and the quality and professionalism of our education workforce.”
He added: “The past two years in particular, during the Covid pandemic, have been especially difficult for everyone involved in Scottish education, bringing many unexpected and unprecedented challenges for the EIS, and for Scotland’s teachers and lecturers, but I believe we have responded well to those challenges.”
EIS president Heather Hughes said: “Larry Flanagan has been a great servant to the EIS, Scotland’s teaching professionals and Scottish education throughout his career.
“He will be a great loss to the institute and will be a very hard act to follow for his successor as general secretary.”
The union has now begun the process of appointing a new general secretary and it is hoped whoever takes on the role will be able to shadow Mr Flanagan before he leaves.