Friday, 26 January 2007

We had a visit from Lord Adonis today...

Lord Adonis had offered to come to Leeds following a letter I had sent him telling him what a fantastic primary sector we had here in Leeds and inviting him to come to Leeds to see what we are doing to drive up standards. Lord Adonis had been very critical of our schools and the standards we are achieving across the city in a letter he had sent to every local authority after we failed to reach the national targets for English and mathematics in the country's primary schools.

We do have some remarkable schools here in Leeds. Last year 25% of our primary schools inspected by OfSTED were judged to be outstanding compared to a national figure of just 9%. I took Lard Adonis to Carr Manor Primary School where he met Linda Bowles and her team. This is an outstanding school with fantastic leadership and brilliant teaching. We had a whistle-stop tour and a chat about their successes and their challenges the school faces... and it was wonderful!

We moved on to Carr Manor High School where Simon Flowers and his team are changing the learning landscape. The school is one of the 'Five Secondary Schools' PfI scheme and we approached the school by passing the old buildings to be faced with the really magnificent new one... which is stunning. We were met by some of Simon's wonderful young people who are a real credit to the school... confident, articulate and really proud of their school. Another flying visit around the school which again showed that here is a school with strong, dynamic and passionate leadership and a dedicated and highly effective learning team... clearly a school going places.

What did Lord Adonis take away from his visit to Leeds? That here we have a team who understood the local and national agenda and were totally focused and determined to raise standards and improve outcomes for children and young people... whatever it takes. I was very proud not only to have shown him the best of Leeds at Linda and Simon's fantastic schools but to be able to tell him, honestly and openly, that we could have gone to many other schools across Leeds and had the same tremendously powerful experience and seen dedicated, talented, passionate colleagues releasing a very special kind of magic.

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