Thursday, 31 May 2007

I have been thinking about our ambituous targets for 2015...

As part of the 14 - 19 Review we have said that we want 80% of our young people to get level 2 qualifications by 2015... that's 5 good GCSE's in old money! Currently 52% get to this level at 16 with another 20% achieving it by the time they are 19... so we are almost there already by 19, we simply have to do it earlier and better.

That means that our current Year 3 children, who will do their GCSE's in 2015, are the target group... real children who we can track and monitor and work with to ensure that they achieve and succeed. Another way of looking at it is that currently in every class of thirty Year 3 children only 16 will achieve 5A*-C grades or the equivalent at 16. We need to increase this to 24!

This challenge affects all of us and requires a cultural change, an additudinal change and belief across the team that this is not just possible but easy! The trick is going to be to lock together three powerful elements around our little learners:
  • inspirational teaching;
  • engaging and accessible curriculum pathways;
  • brilliant coaching and guidance.

We can do this but our starting point has to be to develop a culture where we all believe that everyone has the potential and the ability and the intelligence if we can nurture it, develop it and release it. My only question is why were we so unambituous... why not 100%?

Remember... set the goal and invent the way, set the goal and make it happen.


The Education Leeds team move in the best circles...

Wendy Winterburn sent me this photograph of Amy Williamson, Education Leeds Choice Adviser, with the Prime Minister.

Amy is directly on his left. She reports having a brilliant time... a truly memorable experience. It's what I always say... talented, brilliant, gorgeous and wonderful colleagues are changing the world, making their mark and being noticed!
Our school buildings here in Leeds are brilliant and if you want proof...

I received this e-mail from my colleague Tony Scott.
"Chris, Some good news following the RICS Pro Yorkshire Awards Evening held at the Town Hall on Friday evening. Around 60 projects from the region were entered, and a total of 42 projects were short-listed in the eight categories. New Bewerley Community School & Children's Centre won the Community Benefit Award, and then went on also to win the Regeneration Award.

All eight category winners were then considered for the Pro Yorkshire Project of the Year Award, and I am delighted to report that New Bewerley was confirmed as the recipient of this award also. The project now goes forward to the National RICS Awards with two regional nominations!
Tony Scott Architectural Manager at the Strategic Design Alliance"

I keep on about brilliant learning places, well New Bewerley Community Primary School & Children's Centre certainly seems to fit the label.

Monday, 28 May 2007

I don’t know if it’s the influence of the blog…

My friend John Gibson has been in touch yet again… he is certainly getting around this half-term. This time he has been at Victoria Primary with Tessa Mason and her colleagues. John tells me that they have brilliant assemblies and amazing displays, that Key Stage 2 is wonderful but Key Stage 1 is simply the best!

Let me know if you have been somewhere great.
I have been reading again. It’s fantastic…

During term time I hardly find a moment to breathe let alone read but over the holidays I love to read and escape from the constant noise, the chaos and the clutter. I’ve read a couple of books so far… ‘Crazy as Chocolate’ by Elisabeth Hyde and ‘Engleby’ by Sebastian Faulks.

Elisabeth Hyde also wrote ‘The Abortionist’s Daughter’. ‘Crazy as Chocolate’ is a book about the relationship between a mother and her two daughters; about their wild childhood, the mother’s suicide and, in spite of everything, the love the girls have for their mother.

‘Engleby’ is a brilliant book and I couldn’t put it down. It tells the story of Mike Engleby who survives a private school and goes to Cambridge University where Jennifer Arkland, a fellow student, disappears. We follow Engleby’s career and his observations reveal a mystery of gripping and disturbing power.

Let me know if you have read anything good recently.
It’s funny how hectic the end of half terms are… it seems that we build to an amazing and wonderful climax every six to eight weeks and it’s fantastic! This half term has been no different and last week alongside the usual stuff I was touched by some incredible people and some wonderful places.

It’s easy in a large and complex organisation to forget what really matter and to believe that some things are simply impossible. As I keep reminding you, everything is possible if you simply believe. The impossible simply needs to be broken down into bite size chunks and while few of us have the power to change the world each of us can change a small bit of our world for the better… as Robert Kennedy said “ It is from numberless small acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.”

So what’s the recipe for success…
¨ Be passionate;
¨ Inspire others;
¨ Practice self-belief;
¨ Do more;
¨ Take risks;
¨ Persevere; and
¨ Be generous.

Have a great what’s left of half-term…
Keep the faith!