Some of BBC Scotland's most senior journalists are to leave the corporation by April, either voluntarily or after not being reappointed in a cost-cutting drive.

The Herald has learned Seonag Mackinnon, the experienced education correspondent, is leaving as her brief is being combined with that of local government correspondent, held by Jamie McIvor who will cover the joint role.

Colin Wight, the Aberdeen-based correspondent, is thought to be retiring.

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Another who is going is business correspondent Waseem Zakir who normally features on Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland (GMS).

It is understood his departure has been largely due to a decision to axe the business bulletins on GMS by April, although business will continue to be covered.

Bill Whiteford, the long-established presenter and ex-editor of the afternoon current affairs Newsdrive programme on Radio Scotland, is leaving after more than 20 years at the BBC.

Political reporter Sarah Paterson, and reporters Nina Macleod, David Allison and Nuala Napier will also depart.

Other names will follow although some may yet be redeployed within the BBC.

A BBC spokesman said: "It is also true some have been through our 'selection for retention process' and have been unsuccessful. However, that doesn't mean they are to be sacked. They will go into a redeployment pool to see if there are other suitable posts available."

The National Union of Journalists says 17 posts in total are due to go but BBC management insists it is 12 journalist posts from the news and current affairs department in all Scotland.