Wednesday, 23 May 2007

My colleague Dirk Gilleard and I had dinner this evening with Lord Andrew Adonis...

We had been invited by the DfES to the Queeen's Hotel to discuss the potential of Academies here in Leeds. Leeds was well represented at the dinner... Cllr Blake, Cllr Brett, Cllr Harker, Cllr Harris, Cllr Hyde, Rosemary Archer and Paul Rogerson were joined by Margaret Coleman from the Learning and Skills Council, colleagues from Leeds Metropolitan University and the University of Leeds, colleagues from the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds along with a selection of business partners.

Lord Adonis outlined the power of the Academy model in tackling educational disadvantage and Cllr Harker outlined the Leeds approach before I talked...

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.
Indeed, it's the only thing that ever does."
Margaret Mead

" Here in Leeds we have made really good progress over the last five years. 38% of our young people were achieving Level 2 qualifications (equivalent to 5 good GCSEs) at 16 and now 52% are!... and interestingly by the age of 19 over 75% of our young people are achieving Level 2 qualifications.

We believe that we still need a step change in outcomes for young people. About 80% of our young people are successful at primary school so why shouldn't 80% go on to achieve Level 2 qualifications at 16, with 95% progressing to Further and higher education, and 60% achieving Level 3 qualifications by 19?

To achieve these ambitious outcomes, the most ambitious targets for any local authority in the country, we need to do things differently... ALL OF US... schools, colleges, Leeds City Council, the Learning and Skills Council and Education Leeds! We need to develop LEARNING PATHWAYS based on a clear and unambiguous LEARNER ENTITLEMENT. We need to develop CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE linked to the skills sectors crucial to the success of our great city. We need to build BRILLIANT PROVISION consistently for ALL OUR LEARNERS... whatever it takes!

We must develop a new language around learning, around our little learners and our bigger learners, and we need to build a city where everyone understands that learning matters and every learners counts. To do this we must put aside our institutional bias and prejudices and start talking about:
  • the learner entitlement;
  • teaching and learning;
  • coaching and personalisation;
  • a rich, diverse and creative:
  • ... post-14 offer; and
  • ... post-16 offer.
  • intelligent accountability;
  • engagement and choice;
  • centres of excellence
  • ... academic;
  • ...vocational; and
  • ... specialist.

We are hoping to take forward a Leeds Learning Trust to help us drive this transformational programme across the city. We are happy to have more Academies but only where they add valus and help us achieve our goals and where we have shared and agreed protocols around attendance, exclusions and partnership working.

We are totally committed to working with anyone and everyone who shares our passion and ambition and who wants to help us ensure that every school in Leeds is a brilliant learning place whereevery child and every young person is happy, healthy, safe and increasingly successful."


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