Monday, 1 September 2008

Looking back over the last year, our seventh year here in Leeds, we have had another great year with some extraordinary successes...

Remember, the CPA and JAR reported that children's services in Leeds was good, we were one of the first teams in the country to achieve the new Customer Service Excellence standard, our intergenerational work on 'Building Bridges' with Social Care won an international award, our innovative Artforms 'Find Your Talent' project was one of ten selected nationally to be developed, colleagues developed and delivered the first national Gypsy, Roma, Traveller History Month and Poster Competition, colleagues in Study Support developed the 'Backstage Past' initiative which won a regional 'Making a Difference' award, the VI Team were the first team in the country to receive the new VI Quality Mark, we were nominated for the international Carl Bertlesmann Prize for our work supporting assylum seekers, refugees, travellers and minority groups, we won the BETT Award for Leadership and Management Solutions for 'Bluewave Swift', we have also seen brilliant intitiatives and projects like 'Be Healthy, Stay Safe', Attendance Champions, 'The Power of Me' and STEPS going from strength to strength. OFSTED inspection results generally have been good, particularly around our behavioural provision, and the GCSE results have improved significantly...what more can you want?

At it's brilliant best provision and services here in Leeds are outstanding; are simply world class. However, when it comes to some of the most important things we need to constantly ask ourselves whether we have really changed the deeply embedded culture and attitudes which seem to simply accept things as they are, and why we still suffer from pockets of poor attendance, poor behaviour and poor standards. Just imagine what we could achieve together if everyone believed in our young people and everyone was as passionate, as committed and determined, as prepared to go the extra mile and as focused and as excellent as the most inspiring and exceptional colleagues in Education Leeds and in our schools.

I know that I say this every year but these next few months are critical for Education Leeds and Children Services as we approach the a new set of opportunities and challenges with more DCSF initiatives, even more focus on standards from the National Strategies, the Post 14 Review, the National Challenge and more Academies rolling across the learning landscape. We need to use this opportunity to refresh and rethink, to renew the vision, to recharge the batteries and to boldly go into 2009 to change the world and release the enormous potential in our teams, our schools, our colleagues and our children and young people.

As another academic year begins, we need extraordinary colleagues to bravely and boldly go where we’ve never been and we need an extraordinary back up team to provide support as and when they need it. Whenever someone does something extraordinary, it shows us all what is possible… you just have to look at what we have achieved as a team over the last year! We must continue to challenge each other; to clearly articulate our goals and our roles and make belonging to Children's Services, Education Leeds and the learning team here in Leeds a vibrant, exciting and dynamic part of our lives. I’ll try to get to as many team meetings and talk to as many of you as I can to listen to your views and to get your advice, help and support for the next stage in our journey to excellence, our journey to world class.

Just don’t let anyone tell you that it can’t be done!

No comments: