Monday, 17 March 2008

A Funny Old Week!

It’s been a funny old week full of ups and downs which challenged my usual optimistic approach to things…

The week started with a flood of meetings: leadership team; Narrowing the Gap Board; corporate leadership team, Education Leeds Board; Executive Board; and meetings with Cllr Mulherin; Cllr Blake; Cllr Wakefield; Cllr Blackburn; Ros Vahey; Dirk Gilleard, Cllr Harker and Keith Burton.

I had lunch with the Director of the British Council for the North East Region of the Ukraine, the deputy head of international relations for Kharkiv in Ukraine and my colleague, Jenny Hill, from our international relations team. Dirk and I had coffee with our former colleague Ruth Baldwin who looked fantastic and is doing some great work with the National College for School Leadership.

I did manage a couple of schools visits. I went to Carr Manor High School where we were filming for our new corporate induction film. It gave me the chance to catch up with Simon Flowers, the Headteacher, whose enthusiasm, commitment and energy is an example to us all. I went on to Bracken Edge Primary School who have just had a visit from our friends at Ofsted ,who removed their ‘notice to improve’. Julie Harkness and her colleagues have done really well and the school is now going places.

I attended the Richmond Hill Family of Schools meeting to talk to some wonderful colleagues who are doing great things in this changing and very challenging community. I was also asked to do a session on ‘Releasing the potential of your team’ for Doug Meeson and his corporate financial management team at their away day at Herd Farm. It was an interesting session!

And finally Cllr Carter, Cllr Harker and I met with Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and Lord Andrew Adonis, Minister for Schools. The Ministers, whilst recognising the progress we are making with secondary standards here in Leeds, wanted to know how we could increase the pace of change and get all our schools above the ‘new’ floor targets.

It often appears that however hard we work and whatever we achieve, we still need to do more. More quickly, more effectively and more sustainably to secure better outcomes for young people across the city. I suppose you have to always remember it’s the most important thing this city does!

And after all it is the best job in the world... but roll on Easter, I need a rest!

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