Sunday, 7 September 2008

It has been a funny week; schools back at work, fantastic new buildings being handed over and a quick trip to Germany and back...

My trip to Gutersloh made me realise once again, as I escaped from the intensity of being in Leeds, what a fantastic and very special organisation Education Leeds is. The accolades, the praise and the recognition we received from colleagues at the Bertelsmann Foundation for our work on 'Integration through Education: Fairness for All' and the feedback after the seminar where I talked about Education Leeds and its mission was humbling in so many ways.

To be nominated and taken forward as one of four examples of brilliant practice from across the world, four examples out of sixty nominations, is hard to take in but they also understood the critical importance and uniqueness of our culture, our leadership, our attitudes, our values and our people; all of which, they recognised, shape and drive every aspect of our work here in this wonderful city.

The Bertelsmann Foundation is, like Education Leeds, a unique and very special organisation: one from which we can learn and one with which we can share ideas and approaches. They share our search for what makes brilliant, our passion for equity and fairness, our commitment to music and the arts, our belief in our children and young people and like us they want to change the world to make it a better place for children, families and communities. They understand the need to listen and learn, to research and reflect, to influence and understand and most importantly to strive, to act and to get things done. They understand that actions speak louder than words, that blood, sweat and tears change the world and that it is not the critic who counts but the actor on the stage.

Peter and I were fired up by our visit and by what we learned. I keep thinking of the Calvin Coolidge quote..."Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." After a year where we have seen real success and achieved great things our slogan must be 'press on'. We have still got a lot to do to change the world for the children, families and communities we serve but reassuringly we are not alone and the solutions are out there in Toronto, Malmo, Zurich and at the Bertelsmann Foundation.

Keep the faith.

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