Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Message of the Week Twelve

"Winning is about individuals performing when the going gets tough, not when it’s easy."
Michael Vaughan

I know what you are thinking: ‘It hasn’t been a week since Chris wrote the last message of the week’, and you’re right… it’s been a fortnight, and what a fortnight!

It has been a hectic couple of weeks… I visited Intake High School to talk to the staff about academies and Garforth Community College to talk to Paul Edwards, the headteacher, about the support he is providing for South Leeds High School. I also met the Teenage Pregnancy National Support Team to talk about the challenges we are facing here in Leeds with sexual health. Lord Adonis was in Leeds talking at the Girls Schools Association Annual Conference at the Queen’s Hotel and he asked to meet with Cllr Harker and me to hear about the progress we are making with secondary schools, trusts and academies. I also had breakfast and tea-time meetings with headteacher colleagues from the Seacroft/Manston, Richmond Hill and Inner East families of schools.

Colleagues from Leeds Corporate Leadership Team went on a tour of the city with the inspection teams who are doing the corporate assessment of Leeds City Council and the joint area review of children’s services here in Leeds. We also had a tour of the new Leeds Museum in Millennium Square with colleagues from the museums service.

It has been an incredible couple of weeks for celebrations and launches. I attended the Healthy Schools celebration event at Castle Grove, the ‘Brilliant Learning, Brilliant Leadership’ event at Weetwood Hall, the Leeds Mentoring celebration event at the Civic Hall, the launch of ‘The Power of Me’ at the Headingley Experience and the Leeds Peace Poetry competition awards evening at the Civic Hall. All were inspiring and wonderful opportunities to see the impact of our work in Leeds.

I had meetings with Abdul Udin and Frank Hartle from the Hay Group, Chief Superintendent Milsom from West Yorkshire Police, Christina George from the West Yorkshire Learning and Skills Council, Dierdre Rowe from the Roman Catholic Diocesan Team, Tina Taylor about provision for her son, Sue Knights from the North West SILC Parents Forum. I had lunch with the Artforms team leaders and I also attended the Closing the Gap Executive meeting at the South Leeds Sikh Gudwara.

I did manage to visit some schools… St Anthony’s Primary School, Templenewsam Halton Primary School and the NE SILC at West Oaks School… great schools where great colleagues are releasing the magic.

There were three other highlights for me: I attended the third Education Leeds Annual Lecture given this year by Professor Tim Brighouse who was wonderful; I went to the Elmete Centre to support the brilliant school improvement support team who achieved Chartermark status; and I finished the week with representatives from school councils from Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School, City of Leeds School, South Leeds High School, and West Leeds High School. Friday was 11 Million Takeover Day where the children’s commissioner, Sir Al Aynsley Green had challenged organisations to allow young people to take over for the day or part of the day. We spent the afternoon with this amazing group of young people and they then used our meeting to tell us about their concerns and issues which we will use to inform our strategies and plans.

If we are going to continue to build brilliant learning places we must…
§ Adopt an athletic mindset …. prepare, review and train.
§ Remember successes…. focus on what has gone well.
§ Learn from everything… review, analyse and evaluate.
§ Don’t get bogged down by setbacks… use them to learn and do better.
§ Control things… be prepared and be organised.
§ Focus on success… use visualisation and affirmation techniques.
§ Look after ourselves and each other… eat well, exercise and relax.
§ Manage attitudes…be optimistic and be positive.
§ Seek challenges… get feedback to improve our performance.
§ Create a brilliant working environment… play to our strengths
Keep the faith

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