Friday, 5 December 2008

I started the day at Weetwood Hall with Leadership Forum...

We were there to look at the opportunities and the challenges we face and how we further develop our services and support for schools, children and young people, families and communities. It was an opportunity to look at the unique, innovative, creative and very special culture we have built, the way we thread that culture through the beautiful systems that underpin our practice and how we coach and lead as learners.

It is great to spend some time with Leadership Forum and to remember what we have achieved in the last year. Education Leeds is a unique and special organisation with strong and highly effective leadership, an inclusive and enabling ‘can do’ culture and a passion, energy, enthusiasm and commitment to serve the children, young people and families here in Leeds. The company has had another great year and consistently delivered outstanding services to schools, Children’s Services and the Council.

As well as delivering the last two PFI buildings we have seen the opening of the first three new BSF buildings at Allerton High School, Pudsey Grangefield School and Rodillian School, with Allerton High School being officially opened by the Prime Minister. We have also had notification from the DCSF that our Primary Capital Programme proposals have been agreed with some minor amendments which means that we can start work on an ambitious programme of work that will deliver another £100 million capital investment across the city. Our continuing success has been recognised through our nomination for the Carl Bertlesmann Prize, the extension of our Beacon Status for Healthy Schools, the Leeds Transformational Project celebrating the bi-centenary of the abolition of the slave trade which secured £450,000 of Lottery funding, the success of our ‘Find Your Talent’ bid which has secured around £2.5 million of Lottery funding.

We launched our Emotional Health and Well Being Toolkit and our Investors in Pupils programme has moved to a national roll out. We are continuing to develop our Sustainable Schools programme and held our first Leeds Schools Green Day. We achieved and exceeded our 2007-08 PE and School Sport targets, launched our “Happy Healthy Active Lunchtimes” initiative, launched our Time to Play toolkit and established ‘Spirit Alive’ as our response to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

We were the first authority in the Region to gain re-accreditation of our Inclusion Chartermark and our Visually Impaired Service achieved Quality Mark as well as successfully tendering and winning the contract to develop a visually impaired service for British Services Abroad. We also developed, organised and successfully delivered the first national Gypsy, Roma and Travellers History month and Poster Competition and more recently we won two of the national BSF Excellence Awards for the ‘BEST LEP’ and ‘Innovation in ICT’.

The STEPS programme continues to develop with more and more targeted parents and carers benefiting from the programme and 39 clusters of schools and partners are working towards delivering the core offer of extended services; which has been commended by the DCSF for good progress. We have received recognition from House of Lords for our work with International New Arrivals as well as recognition from OFSTED through one of their thematic survey which identified good practice on Social Responsibility and Community Cohesion. Many more of our services have achieved Chartermark and the company was the first to achieve the Cabinet Office’s Customer Service Excellence standard. We have achieved our best ever GCSE results; fantastic results at 5 A*-C, 5 A*-C including English and mathematics, 5 A*-G and 1A*-G and our feedback from the Audit Commission survey which gave us the best satisfaction rating we have ever had from our schools.

As I said... never forget that you are simply brilliant!

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