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.