Friday, 19 December 2008

This evening I attended the Education Leeds Christmas Party at Leeds United's Banqueting Suite...

It was great to see so many colleagues and to see them having a really good time. The food was good, the band were really good and the team had worked really hard to bring a sparkle at the venue and to make the party go brilliantly. We also used the occasion to announce the winners of the first 'Spirit Awards' recognising brilliant colleagues and teams in the eight categories. And the winners were:

CATEGORY: Putting customers first:
WINNER: Dev Phull and the Operations service.

CATEGORY: Looking after Leeds
WINNER: Eve McLeish and the VI team.

CATEGORY: Health and Wellbeing:
WINNER: The Health Initiatives team,

CATEGORY: Personal Achievement:
WINNER: Kaya Barker,

CATEGORY: Leader of the Year:
WINNER: Anne Lomas,

CATEGORY: Treating people fairly:
WINNER: Peter Saunders,

CATEGORY: Colleague of the year:
WINNER: Sally Bavage.

CATEGORY: Team of the year:
WINNER: The BSF team,

These are some amazing colleagues and teams who have achieved great things this year and it was brilliant to see their work recognised like this

I went to Rawdon St Peter's CE Primary School first thing this morning...

I went to see Caroline Sibson who was appointed to the headteacher post after holding the fort over the last couple of years. Caroline is clearly doing a really good job with her talented, brilliant, gorgeous and wonderful team. They treated me to a special assembly featuring their unique, brilliant and very powerful presentation of the Eva Schloss story which they performed at the Stephen Lawrence Education Standard Celebration earlier this term. The child who danced the role of Eva was incredible; dancing with such emotion and feeling. Then, Year 5 and 6 also sang one of the Christmas songs they had performed at the Church last night, which was great.

Rawdon St Peter's CE Primary School is a great little school and it is releasing a very special magic this Christmas for some fantastic children. I was even given one of their special teddies to take away so I wouldn't forget them.

It was a really wonderful end to yet another brilliant term here in Leeds.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

My colleague David Bateson sent me this final e-mail...

"Hi Chris just and end of phase update I am retiring today after 38 years within Education Leeds/Leeds City Council and want to share another set of successes from my TEAM and from participants on the NATIONAL PROGRAMME for Specialist LEADERS of Behaviour and Attendance before the end of today. Seven MORE STAFF have successfully completed the NPSLBA programme five from the BESD SILC an two from the high school settings and the numbers will go from strength to strength in 2009 when there will be another 30+ on the programme. The permanent exclusion figures are on target with ONLY 11 confirmed this term. ALL the team are working hard with our partners to support as many pupils as possible within the school setting and reduce the fixed term exclusions across the city. Cheers David"

David and colleagues in the Pupil Placement Team have worked magic and I know that we will miss David's passion, commitment, enthusiasm and belief.
I visited Garforth Green Lane Primary School this afternoon...

I went to see Tammie Prince the new headteacher and Tammie showed me around the school and introduced me to some of her team and some of her wonderful children. I also met Nicola Davies, the Year 3 Coordinator for Modern Foreign Languages, who was recently awarded MFL Teacher of the Year.

It was great to visit this little school and meet some talented colleagues who are releasing magic with some amazing children.
I moved on to the Blenheim Christmas Fuddle...

I wanted to be there to thank everyone after another great year and as I looked around the room I realised that I was in the presence of some incredibly talented and effective colleagues whose work in almost every area is simply outstanding. This group of colleagues work with some of our most special children and they are magic!
I attended the Merrion Christmas Fuddle today...

I wanted to be there to thank everyone after another great year and as I looked around the room I realised that I was in the presence of some incredibly talented and effective colleagues whose work in almost every area is simply outstanding. They really are a unique and very special group of colleagues.
I moved on to the Gypsy, Roma, Traveller and Ethnic Minority Achievement Team's Away Day at Weetwood Hall...

Rehana Minhas had asked me to go to talk to the new team after my colleague Dirk Gilleard. It was great to be with a group of colleagues who have had such a brilliant year and achieved so much.
I started the day at one of my favourite schools...

I visited Quarry Mount Primary School to see Jackie Twaites, headteacher, and we walked around the school. I picked up breakfast and met some of the team and some of the children and it was really encouraging to see the school doing so well.

It was great to visit this little school and meet some talented colleagues who are releasing magic with some amazing children.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

I attended a Christmas production at Templenewsam Halton Primary School this evening...

'The Peace Child' was a simply amazing production for a primary school. Two hundred children backed up by a stunning support team have clearly worked incredibly hard to deliver a performance packed with music, song, dance and drama. The choreography was wonderful, the dancing was stunningly beautiful, the choir were fabulous and the actors certainly had the X factor!.

This is certainly an outstanding school, brilliantly led and everyone in the packed hall had a fantastic time watching some incredibly talented, brilliant, gorgeous and wonderful children. These children supported by Kay Crellin and her amazing team delivered an evening of real magic which I won't forget in a very long time.

'Spirit Awards'

The judging panel met yesterday afternoon to run through the selection process for all 'Spirit Awards' nominations. Over three hours were spent analysing the forms and now the final results are here. The three finalists (per category) for the Spirit Awards 2008 are:-

Putting customers first:
  • Operations service, part of Information Management team (managed by Dev Phull);
  • Jason Tattersall, and
  • Mari Connolly.
Looking after Leeds:
  • Eve McLeish and VI team,
  • Christine Halsall, and
  • Carl Whalley.
Health and Wellbeing:
  • Rosemary Molinari,
  • Health Initiatives team, and
  • Health and Safety team.
Personal Achievement:
  • Kaya Barker,
  • Stephanie Rayford, and
  • Vanessa Murphy
Leader of the year:
  • Heather Eyre,
  • Anne Lomas, and
  • Alex Macleod.
Treating people fairly:
  • Hannah Oldfield,
  • Peter Saunders, and
  • Pauline Rosenthal.

Team of the year:

  • Secondary School Improvement Advisors,
  • BSF team, and
  • Pay & Grading team.
Colleague of the year:
  • Stephanie Rayford,
  • Jayne Sloan, and
  • Sally Bavage.

Amazing colleagues and teams who have achieved great things this year.

Be at the Education Leeds party on Friday night to find out who has won each of these fantastic awards.


My colleague Michael Rossiter sent me some brilliant news...

"Dear Chris, Thought that you might like to see this Ofsted report. You said last time that sometimes you miss out on the 'loop' and don't get to hear some news. Well Chris, we have just had our 2nd Outstanding in all areas Ofsted report and I can't tell you how delighted I am for all at Woodlesford Primary. My staff work incredibly hard and we achieve so much in so many different areas of school life. We are probably the best known Leeds School in terms of sporting excellence and we are spreading the word internationally too having just received the 'International School Award' in London. I admire much of your efforts to raise the bar for many of my colleagues and I do believe in your sincerity too about empowering people to 'spread the word'. That was my last Ofsted I would imagine as I am 62 now and almost in my dotage, but never once in my teaching career have I resented the time spent in this profession. Many of my colleagues here share the same passion, and although it does become a load too much at times, the end results-the smiles, the pride and the spirit shown make it worth while. I do feel that schools like ours never receive the 'praise' from Education Leeds that we should, I don't know why, because we also have problem children and families, outside pressures etc. to deal with. I know that you indeed do spend time and thought sharing your beliefs, and have 'kept the faith'. I'm proud to be head-teacher of this wonderful school and all associated with it. Anyway time to go as I'm playing 'Brucie' in the Staff Panto and can't be late. AM I DODDERY? DODDERY I'M NOT! All the best, happy christmas and thanks. Michael"

Woodlesford Primary School is an outstanding school and I am delighted for Michael and his brilliant team.
I started the day at Allerton Bywater Primary School...

I haven't been for a while and I wanted to go to thank Margaret Moyles, our consultant headteacher, who has been doing a brilliant job since the school was placed in Special Measures by our friends at OFSTED. I also wanted to thank the staff team who are really making a difference in this great little school.

I arrived to see the fantastic breakfast club which was buzzing and then I was taken into the hall for the first Wake Up and Shake Up of the day... this is a school that takes things seriously and does Wake Up and Shake Up twice a day! The session was fabulous and the children, supported by students from Brigshaw High School, had a really energetic and enthusiastic work out.

I had a quick walk around the school and met some of the team. The building is bright and attractive, the learning environment is brilliant and the children are great. This isn't a school in Special Measures anymore; it's somewhere with real potential where Margaret and her team are releasing a very special magic.
If like me you weren't nominated for a Spirit Award this year not to worry...

You can still come to the party on Friday and forget about OFSTED, National Strategies, EYFS, DCSF, CVA, APA and unwind for a brilliant Christmas. It's only £10 for the best night of the year!

I hope to see you there.
I heard about this new scheme yesterday at the Healthy Leeds launch...

The DCSF and the Department of Health want to encourage us all to eat well, move more and live longer. Which is where Change4Life comes in. It aims to help families and it’s really important to our childrens' futures. But apparently it’s also going to be fun! As the movement starts to grow, there will be plenty of brilliant things to get involved in and we are being encouraged to badge up our programmes as Change4Life. The programme will include local events and activities, magazines and tasty recipe ideas, amongst many other things. You can find out more and register at

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

My colleague Vanessa Huws Jones, Primary School Improvement Partner Coordinator/Adviser sent me this really wonderful piece of writing...

" I wanted a perfect ending.
Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle and end.
Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.
Delicious ambiguity. "
Gilda Radner, 1946-1989

That line 'Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next' is simply brilliant and captures for me the way I face the future. Thanks Vanessa.
I started the day at Parklands Girls High School...

I was there to see Helen Lane, headteacher, and to talkk about the progress the school was making. It was encouraging to see the real focus Helen has brought to the school around achieving the National Challenge targets next Summer with Year 11. Helen also asked me to briefly meet her team at briefing to wish them all a Happy Christmas and thank them all for their hard work this term.

Monday, 15 December 2008

And finally, I attended the Hunslet Hawks Learning Centre 'Playing for Success Celebration Evening' at the John Charles Centre for Sport...

It was a fantastic evening celebrating children from Middleton St Philips, Middleton St Mary's, Clapgate, Low Road and Windmill Primary Schools. The Parkside Suite was packed with young people and their parents, carers and teachers.
I then moved on to the East SILC for a production of 'Santa Who?' performed by children and colleagues from the Oakwood Pupil Support Centre...

The young people aided by Dr Who performed a story which took us from Christmas in Bethlehem to Chistmas on the trenches in World War One to Christmas in the Future and back again in search of Santa. It was a fabulous celebration of what these children can achieve when given the opportunity and brilliantly supported by colleagues and young people from 2Engage.
I moved on to the VI team Christmas party at Keirkstall St Stephen's Church Hall...

It was wonderful to see the team with their precious children and their parents, carers and brothers and sisters playing together and celebrating Christmas and another brilliant year.
I was delighted to see that Whitkirk Primary School won the YEP Xmas Carol Factor...
Congratulations to the brilliant choir and to their fantastic teacher Catherine Sunderland who produced their winning entry 'Journey to Bethlehem'.

I started the day at the launch of the Physical Activity Strategy...

Active Leeds : A Healthy City 2008 - 2012 sets out to address the challenges we face here in Leds with ensuring that everyone has a healthy and active lifestyle... important because it is the key to maintaining and improving our health and well-being. The Strategy looks at four aspects:
  • Active Living;
  • Active Travel;
  • Active Recreation;
  • Active Sport.

We need to carefully consider the Chief Medical Officer's recommendations that children should be active for 6o minutes every day and adults should be active for 30 minutes five days a week. Clearly we need to do more because there is a frightening increse in the number of overweight and obsese children as we move through the primary years. In reception 20% are overweight and 9% are obese. By the end of Year 6 the figures have increased so that 33% are overweight and 18% are obese. We also know that once a child moves into adulthood it is very very difficult to get out of the cycle of being overweight. So we need to look carefully at how we can ansure that every child does 60 minutes of moderate activity everyday with at least twice a week this inclding activities to improve bone health, muscle strength and flexibility. We also need to ensure that most of us engage in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week.