Thursday, 8 March 2007

I went on to open the 'Hard to Shift' Primary Schools Conference at the Park Plaza Hotel...

The Conference was a National Strategies regional event hosted by Leeds for regional primary advisers. Lesley Dolben, from Harehills Primary School, and Patrick Wilkins, from New Bewerley Primary School, were giving the view from schools and Professor Jane Reed,Head of the International Network for School Improvement at the London Institute of Education, was facilitating the day on the theme of "Making the Dancers Visible" with three themes:
  • making learning public and visible;
  • building a learning culture; and
  • leadership for learning.

Chris Halsall and her colleagues had organised the day... which I hope will help us focus on what makes brilliant in the most challenging contexts. Five of our schools have been given this 'hard to shift' label by the DFES... sounds like a stain we are trying to remove. I don't think it is useful or helpful as a term since we all know that every school in Leeds has its hard bits, its stubborn and resistant bits but equally every school in Leeds has its outstanding bits, it's bits of magic. Our job as educators and as a learning team is to celebrate the excellence and make all our practice more consistently good. Chris and her colleagues have renamed the work as the 'Leeds Challenge' which helpfully suggests that this is something we all need to address on our journey from OK, to good, to great, to brilliant.


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