Monday, 22 January 2007

Today was one of those days where you reach the end of the day and you look back and wonder whether it was worth getting up...

The day started with a meeting where hard working and committed colleagues were berated by school colleagues whose needs are not being met and who feel let down by a funding system that we all recognise isn't fair and equitable. We all play by the rules of the game... however crazy they sometimes appear to be... but our aim is to get the best deal we can for children and young people in Leeds. And my colleagues have done brilliantly at this game and we could bring countless colleagues to testify that they have had a great deal over the last five years but for every satisfied customer their are probably two more whose needs are not being met... colleagues in poor buildings with grotty toilets and leaking roofs... colleagues with paper thins walls and damp and smelly floors.

I ended the day with another talented and amazing group of colleagues persuading the School Organisation Committee to close two very small schools and create a replacement school which would be more efficient and effective in terms of standards, outcomes and the use of resources. This was fiercely opposed by a small group of parents and by members of the community who passionately believe that this was a mistake and that their community will suffer if it has its' school taken away. Again we are dealing with individuals whose needs are not being met and who feel let down by the system and by the professionals who they think simply see numbers, outcomes, standards and pound signs.

Now the real question is are we successful for what we have achieved or are we failures for what we haven't yet managed to do. Only time will tell if we have got things right but for some reason today has left a very bitter taste.


set said...

'The bitter taste of reality is not to be feared.'


A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of working for an arbitration service in The Gulf of Maricosa.

The U.N.O. had offered the archipelago's governement a development grant/loan the develop a mineral extraction project on one of their atols in order to boost their economy. To sweeten the dish they had agreed to piggy the funding of a conservation zone on a neighbouring atol.

In total seven surveys were commitioned to identify suitable atols for each project. As fate would have it two identical atols were declared ideal for both developments. It was left to a committee to decide upon their contrasting destinies. Sophie's Choice, either Atol A or Atol B gets 'extracted'.

Nine sat around the table. Locals said this, developers that, environmentalists said the other. Nobody sounded too happy and after three days of negotiation all looked as bitter as they did on the first day.

The outcome is irrelevant. This is the reality of life. The 'happy, happy, moonbeams' of 'isn't it all great' taste of sickly cream soda. Personally I think tequilla has more truth in it (how I ended up there in the first place but that's...) though you have to suffer the salty lick first.

Incidentally, some degree of accord was only reached after the arrival in the room of a large globe. Seeing the bigger picture sometimes helps and according to the Dalai Lama we should not need to ask how we are judged. To label failure is to see things as lumps in a snake.

Chris'Blog said...

I recognise that it is not to be feared and I am grateful for your very thoughtful and helpful comments.