Tuesday, 6 May 2008

On Thursday last week, 1st May 2008, I reached a significant milestone in my life...

I have been in Leeds now for seven years. and I want to thank everyone who, over those seven gloriously wonderful years, has released a really special magic and achieved brilliant outcomes for our children and young people.

Another year, another week. I was asked by my colleagues Jane Hall and Richard Irvine to open the Children Missing Education Conference at the Carriageworks. This is yet another aspect of our work where we are doing some vitally important work for some of our most vulnerable and special children and young people.

I visited Hugh Gaitskell Primary School where Margaret Beesley and her team are doing great things balancing wonderful care, guidance and support and a fantastic learning culture and learning environment with high quality early years provision and a developing focus on assessment for learning to secure better standards and improving outcomes

We continued Professor Stephen Parkinson’s induction with a visit to the Central Leeds Learning Federation to meet Liz Talmadge and to the West Park Centre to talk to Paul Kaiserman, Clare Biggs and Fiona Pacey about Artforms. The passion, energy and commitment we saw was impressive.

I was also asked to present certificates to a group of Higher Level Teaching Assistants who had gone on to complete our own Education Leeds ‘Certificate in Physical Education’. These 20 brilliant colleagues are helping us change the learning landscape and have been wonderfully trained and developed by Max Amesbury supported by Helen Plimmer, Monica Tomkiss and Linda Gibson.

What really makes life special here in Leeds is our people... from inspirational headteachers and talented teachers to amazing HLTAs and brilliant support staff from the creative and innovative Artforms team to my unsung heroes; Althea, Barbara, Bernie, Shakeela and the fantastic team who support me at Merrion House.

I have never worked anywhere with so many incredible people, so many great teams and so many wonderful initiatives. Leeds is a place where we have so much potential, so much ability, so much talent and such an opportunity to continue to make an enormous difference... and still so much to do. We must continue to stay at the cutting edge, to think differently and simply to be the best learning team in the country... whatever it takes!

I am looking forward to making it ten years in Leeds!

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