Thursday, 12 June 2008

I ended the day at South Leeds High School at an evening of celebration for the young people who had been involved in the Leadership Programme run by The Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball Trust....

Colleagues from the school and the Warrington Foundation for Peace team delivered the programme and students received accreditation and a certificate from the Open College Network. Individual students were also given special awards for their contributions to the programme and the impact on their learning back at school.

It was a fantastic evening with some really wonderful young people from Years 11, 10, 9 and 8 talking about their experiences on the programme and we also had a group of younger students doing Bollywood dancing.

This was one of those incredibly special evenings when you realise what has been achieved at South Leeds High School and it's simply magic!
I attended the 'Leaving NEET Behind' Conference this morning...

The conference was a multi-agency approach to supporting young people aged 14 - 25 to make effective transitions into employment and included a brilliant piece of performance art by a group of young people from Archway. hey finished the session with a performance of 'We can fly' and it was fantastic.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The Education Leeds Board held its meeting today at Brigshaw High School...

The Board had a presentation on the 'confederation' approach we are developing to address the challenges we are facing with 14 - 19 provision here in Leeds. Pat Toner introduced the session and Peter Laurence did a really good presentation which stimulated a lot of important questions and a stimulating and challenging debate which should help us take the work to the next stage.

The Board also met Cath Lennon, the Acting Principal, and her leadership team and had a guided tour of the school by some of their brilliant students. The Board were really impressed by their visit to Brigshaw High School and I am really grateful to Cath and her team.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

I also went to the Willow Young Carers' Art Event at the Leeds City Gallery...

This amazing project, operating in partnership with Barnardo's, supports children and young people who look after a member of their family. These inspirational young people have been working with a resident artist to produce some wonderful art work, including a brilliant mosaic which hope will be on display in Children's Services. Sheila Davenport and her colleagues have once again released something very special... her next project is a cookbook.
I attended a brilliant session with colleagues from Corporate Leadership Team this afternoon...

My colleague Jean Dent had arranged for Gary Lawrence, and Nigel Foster from ARUP to lead a session on 'Drivers for Change' focusing on what is a sustainable city. The input by Gary Lawrence really made me think about what we mean by sustainability and reinforced the need to keep it simple, that scale matters, that the future is random and chaotic and that we need to build flexible and adaptable systems.

Gary stressed the need to develop community engagement and ownership. To identify issues and get agreement that there is a problem that needs to be solved. Then do the research to generate the data and the stories that have meaning to those you want to affect. He also suggested translating environmental issues into health issues and whenever there is money to invest he recommended that we put it into education!

It was a stimulating session which reinforced the need to continue to work on sustainable schools and the health, happiness and well-being of our chilkdren and grandchildren.
My colleague Clare Biggs who is Head of Arts Development with Artforms sent me this bit of good news...

"Hi Chris, In case you haven't heard already we wanted to share the good news with you that 21 Leeds schools have been awarded Artsmark this year! This is the largest number to date.

Here is the list of Leeds Artsmark Schools – awarded Artsmark in Round 8

Allerton High School Artsmark Gold
Brigshaw High School and Language College Artsmark Gold
Burley St Matthias Primary School Artsmark
Cockburn College of Arts Artsmark Gold
Cookridge Primary School Artsmark Gold
Crossley Street Primary School Artsmark Silver
East Ardsley Primary School Artsmark Silver
Horsforth School Specialist Science College Artsmark Silver
Ireland Wood Primary School Artsmark Gold
Lawnswood School Artsmark Silver
Mount Saint Mary's Catholic Primary School Artsmark Silver
Ninelands Primary School Artsmark Gold
Oulton Primary School Artsmark Silver
Pudsey Primrose Hill Primary School Artsmark Gold
Raynville Primary School Artsmark Gold
Seacroft Grange Primary School Artsmark
Shadwell Primary School Artsmark Gold
St Benedict's Catholic Primary School Artsmark Silver
St Nicholas Catholic Primary School Artsmark Silver
Tranmere Park Primary School Artsmark Silver
Woodlesford Primary School Artsmark Silver

All best wishes Clare"

Brilliant news for these great schools and for the arts community here in Leeds.

Monday, 9 June 2008

I met Allan Blagaich today. Allan is Executive Director; Metropolitan Schools at the Department of Education and Training for the Government of Western Australia...

Allan is in the UK on a Churchill Fellowship looking at federations and partnerships to inform his work back in Australia and was visiting Liz Talmadge, Executive Headteacher at the Central Leeds Learning Federation. Allan wanted to know about developments here in Leeds having visited our friends at OFSTED and been to Leicester to talk about their Education Learning Zone.

Interestingly having spoken to Allan, I am even more convinced that we need to build from localities; starting with clear and unambiguous goals and building local trust, leadership, accountability, ownership and responsibility. We need to nurture and support innovative approaches to collaboration, federation and partnership linking schools, colleges, universities, businesses, agencies and other local stakeholders and partners. We need organisations like the National College of School Leadership and the National Strategies to provide a menu of materials and programmes for federations and partnerships to adopt and customise to meet their individual and local needs. And our friends at OFSTED needs to refine their approach to inspection to develop and validate school based and partnership based self-review which is more holistic and captures the 'Every Child Matters' approach we are developing.

Allan was a breath of fresh air in interesting times.
I had a great week last week with some amazing colleagues in some brilliant learning places…

I went to the White Rose Learning Centre to yet another STEPS programme. This one was for foster carers and was the first programme facilitated by parents… Brilliant!
I went to the University of Leeds to the diploma event for students who are starting the new diplomas in September and their parents and carers … Fantastic!
I went to Farsley Farfield Primary School to visit their farm and to see the work they are doing… Amazing!
I went to Kippax North Junior and Infant School to attend their ‘Green Day’ assembly and the opening of their new wind turbine… Awesome!

We need to understand, recognise and celebrate the talented, brilliant, gorgeous and wonderful colleagues working across Leeds. We need to develop more rounded, more engaging ways of looking at our provision and focus less relentlessly on test and exam results. We must encourage creativity, imagination, passion and commitment and support colleagues who work with the future… our children and young people.