Wednesday, 7 February 2007

We had a meeting with the Education Leeds Board today...

It was a brilliant opportunity to review and think about the future of learning in Leeds... to look at the challenges we face and the opportunities we have to build brilliant learning places that deliver world class outcomes for children and young people, their families and their communities in this great city.

So, what are the challenges we face?

The DfES have increased expectations of all of us and have continued to raise the bar... setting us more challenging targets and asking us to account for what we are doing around failing schools and disadvantaged groups. OfSTED have also rasied the bar with a new Framework and with increasing numbers of schools finding themselves in a category... more notices to improve and more schools in special measures. The Education na Inspection Act places new duties on the local authority as a commissioner of services and as the champion and advocate for the child and the parents and carers. It also ratchetes up the game with more Academies, Trusts and a new admissions code of practice. We now, of course, live in a Children's Servicse world where Every Child Matters, and through joined-up multi-agency extended services we are required to deliver the Core Offer. The new White paper also encourages us all to Think Local and to be driven by three key issues... choice, voice and ownership.

We also face a series of challenges because of three aspects of the rapidly changing world we all inhabit... abundance, automation and Asia require us to look carefully at the skills we all need in this new conceptual age. I have said before that Dan Pink suggest that we need to focus on the following six key skills... design, story, empathy, symphony, play and design.

And the opportunities?

The challenges continue to require us to raise our game but we also need to look at the opportunities we have to transform outcomes for all our learners... Building Schools For the Future, The Learning and Skills Council's Review of 14 - 19 Provision, the Primary Capital programme, the 2020 Gilbert Review, regeneration programmes and so much more.

So what are the golden threads that tie all this together?

We need to focus on the golden threads and together build a critical mass of understanding about what makes brilliant...
  • shared vision, values and beliefs;
  • strong, passionate leadership;
  • a culture of high expectations, celebration of achievement and high self-esteem;
  • inspiring teaching in brilliant learning environments;
  • assessment for learning and the powerful use of data and information;
  • a strong outcomes focus to deliver happy, healthy, safe and successful;
  • a coaching and mentoring culture; and last but not least
  • intelligent accountability.

We must also learn to listen... to parents and carers, to communities and to faith groups, to businesses and to our colleagues in further and higher education... but most importantly we must learn to listen to our children and young people.



set said...

Day 1 - Chapatarra Province


i think i've over done it this time. one of those villagers i was telling you about led me into the forest, stripped me naked, dawbed me with hallucigens and placed me in a smoky cavern for an incalculable period of time. i'm not too sure where leeds is anymore, come to think of it my own name seems to be drifting into the tree tops. Sometimes i wonder...'

Day 6 - in cavern


I see a cormorant. She sits on the stump of a partially submerged tree. Wait... it's not a tree, she sits on it's a crocodile. Beside them a waterbuffalo and is that... yes, a border collie and a dolphin. They smile at me. They want to talk?... Yes, they want to share their thoughts with me. It's brilliant! They want to tell me things... hold on, what's she doing here?... i like her hair...

Day 8 - in cavern


things are really starting to make sense. all these animals have been telling me some really interesting stuff. apparantly they all work for a local circus and their ringmaster has a thing about hoops. He likes to keep altering the shape, size and location of the rings through which they all should leap. they find it very unsettling and some of them feel very sad. there's a rumour circulating that if you climb to the top of the big top and trace the line of flight of each animal through the kaleidoscopic whirlwind of ever changing hoops it spells something out. i asked that bird thing to fly up and have a look but she ghasped that to do so would be instant death as no mortal could see the ring masters grand design without their feathers bursting into flames. as for that girl...

week 4 - cavern still


something wonderful has happened. i finally caught up with the ringmaster. to be honest he wasn't quite what i expected. i thought he'd be much taller. i asked him about the hidden meaning in the hoops and he just laughed. 'my dear boy', he said. 'how can there possibly be a solitary message appreciated from one singular point in the universe when our audience all sit in different seats!!!' he smiled, shook his head and pointed at the trapeze. i had no idea she could do that...'

next morning - cave


i'm tired and the animals are worried. it's strange but somehow they seemed more settled in their confusion when they believed that somewhere it all made sense. i tried to reassure them that things could be a lot worse. that that cormorant thing could be working for bernard matthews and stuff like that but it had little effect. they didn't want to talk anymore. that's why it came as no surprise when the bite came.'

day... cave


the convulsions have stopped. 'what do the animals need? what do they need to survive?' the man from the cbi says they need to be literate and numerate. 'only then can they face the tigers in the growing jungle.' i asked him about the industrial revolution, about the pioneering (i know this had a very bad flip side but i was trying to provoke him)character of empire. 'all built on numeracy and literacy.' he thumped on. 'so you don't think creativity and confidence are more important?'
'english and maths!!!' he shouted. 'there's the answer. that'll have them quivering on the stock markets of the world...' he went on a bit before that girl came in with a tray of biscuits. it was a warm summers day and through the open window i heard a cukhoo and yes, is that a lawnmower... '

this morning 7am

I found the above in my outbox this morning. Reading through them I suppose that I must have been having difficulties remembering my password at the time. It also explains why I was a couple of weeks late getting back into the office, something for which K is still sore with me.

I guess it's a universal making sense of the shifting hoops. Trying to figure out what we really need to do and why. Trying to match the resources we are given with those which we feel we need. We can ask everyman and his dog if we like. Truth is though, at some point we have to stop looking for big lists. One clear path ideally straight down the middle. In my opinion, we build a nation of free thinking, creative people all blessed with a passionate confidence to turn their dreams into reality. **** maths and english, they're overated. Ask any successful entrepreneur. How do we do that? We stop asking everyone what they think and start telling them what needs to be done from the ringmaster to the paying public. Surely we've all seen enough of this to get the reality?

By the way, never trust an animal whose mouth you can't see.

Oaf said...

Dear Set

You are patently mad and I remove my previous endorsement of your comments.
1. Stay away from caves - they bring death (as do circles)
2. Cormorants need to be avoided - they appear charming and enigmatic but can bring death with their cunning ways.
3. Is the ringmaster Chris? I only ask because your metaphor is too dense for me.

set said...


thanks for the survival tips. clearly the circumstances induced madness. i am being punished though.k has not spoken to me since my return. the office rumour is that i'm to be taken off overseas liaison. the last time this happened was not good. i'd quite innocently sent 10,000 rubbers to a west african educational aid programme. i only filling in the order form but got blamed for the whole gig going wrong. how was i to know a rubber wasn't an erasure and that they had issues with contraception? anyway k made me go into a school for a bit after that. there'd been some undercover tv crew in a school up in huddersfield and someone upstairs was getting paranoid that others would follow. k pulled some strings and lined me up a stint undercover as supply in this school in sheffield. hints had come in that some building contractors were really a covert channel 4 film crew. it ended up with these builders setting fire to my shoes and filming it on their mobiles. fortunately the school had some really brilliant mentors who'd all completed the higher level teaching assistants certificate so i was able to access lots of support which made me a better person for the experience. k downloaded the clips of me screaming and had them as a screensaver for a while. i fear more of the same. she wants to see me on monday.

Chris'Blog said...

You know Set, the future is all about creativity, imagination and innovation... so you are definitely on a winner. You must be one of the most creative souls around.