Thursday, 24 July 2008

I started the day with Max Amesbury and Helen Plimmer who wanted to talk to me about a project they had been working on...

They have been developing an exciting cross-curricular project for primary schools involving creating a mini-olympic games. The project started with four primary schools: Gledhow, Rothwell Victoria, St Chad's and Whingate and this year expanded to involve thirty schools. The brilliant thing about the initiative is that the children plan, manage and organise their own event including the opening ceremony, all the games and the closing ceremony.

What is very obvious about the work that Max and Helen have been doing is that the whole curriculum can be delivered through this project in the same way we have the international curriculum and the creative curriculum we here have the olympic curriculum and in the build up to the London Olympics this initiative is simply magic.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

I moved on to yet another STEPS event at Harehills Primary School...

This celebration was of a group of mums who had been through the programme supported by REEMAP and once again very clearly the programme has had a massive impact. There is no magic ingredient to the success of STEPS; the power of the programme is that it is delivered by passionate advocates who understand what can be achieved if you simply believe.
I went on to the retirement event at Oakwood Primary School for Anne Matthias...

Anne's passion and her gentle but highly effective style has influenced so many people over the years and many of these colleagues turned up at the school to say thank you to this amazing headteacher. I was proud to be one of the crowd and to have a public opportunity to say what she meant to the educational community and how much she would be missed. She will be a very hard act to follow!
I started the day yesterday with Common Purpose talking on their 'Who Do You Need To Be' Programme Day...

Ken Cornforth and I had been asked to be a double act and we talked about our approaches to leadership. Feedback from Veronique Raingeval Director of Common Purpose here in Leeds has been wonderful... 'inspiring, passionate, dedicated, driven.'

In truth it was great to be asked and I really enjoy the opportunity to network and share my passion for education here in Leeds.

Monday, 21 July 2008

I received this e-mail from my colleague Lesley Dolben, headteacher at Harehills Primary School...

"Dear Chris, Just thought I would share some good news with you. Today our school was awarded ‘Investor in Diversity’ Status. This followed a full assessment day where Bruce Waller from the National Centre for Diversity interviewed a wide range of parents, staff, children and other stakeholders. The feedback given to the school stated that we were ‘Outstanding’ in every aspect of the assessment and that we are only the third school in the country to have achieved this award! This award reflects two years of hard work by my staff team and is particularly gratifying to receive in my final week as its headteacher. I know that you will want to congratulate my team and I hope that this work will further enhance Leeds’ commitment to diversity and inclusion.

On a personal note I am very sad to be leaving this wonderful school at the end of term. I know that much has been achieved in the four and a half years I have spent as its school leader. I can reflect upon an improving trend in standards of attainment, accelerated progress for pupils across the school and high aspirations for future progress. Ofsted have recognised us as a good and inclusive school with great potential. We are now as an investor in diversity, at the cutting edge of the community cohesion agenda, and, as this new IID standard acknowledges; providing a sensitive and well tailored response to the community we serve. We even have a lovely new building, large enough to accommodate our increased numbers!

Leeds has been a vibrant and exciting place to work in and I take many good memories with me. I have been privileged to have worked alongside some very talented individuals. I am only sorry that you were not able to see the school this year, since the encouragement and support your role could provide to my colleagues, working hard in challenging circumstances, is greatly appreciated. I am told that you are to visit us in October and I am sure my colleagues and the children will be delighted to see you. With my best wishes, Lesley"

It is wonderful to hear about the 'Investors in Diversity' Award Lesley and her colleagues have achieved. Congratulations to them all in being one of the first schools in the country to achieve it. Lesley is a great loss to Leeds and we will miss her passion, commitment and enthusiasm. Chris