Friday, 2 January 2009

I was personally delighted to hear that Paul Edwards had been awarded a Knighthood in the New Year Honours along with Ralph Tabberer, Director General for Schools at the DCSF and my friend Professor Tim Brighouse...

Paul Edwards has achieved great things here in Leeds and has been a brilliant ambassador for the City. Under Paul's leadership, Garforth Community College has become one of the most successful secondary schools in the country and the 'Schools Partnership Trust' has developed as an innovative and creative local approach to service delivery and the outreach of professional support and services to schools in Leeds. Paul is a 'National Leader of Learning' who has also worked locally, regionally and nationally to support the successful development of the Government's Academies Programme.

Paul Edwards is a highly talented leader, an innovative and creative thinker and a real asset to Garforth and Leeds. I know that the whole educational community here in Leeds will join me in congratulating him on achieving this well deserved honour.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

It was great to hear the news about Paul Edwards Knighthood but unless I am mistaken most of us will miss out on life's really big and important prizes...

I have said this before but I know that I am never going to be Prime Minister, win the FA Cup, win a Pulitzer Prize, win an Oscar or a Nobel Prize and I am unlikely to win X Factor or Strictly Come Dancing, win the lottery or get a Knighthood. Yet at the beginning of another New Year there is so much to be positive about... there are so many reasons to be cheerful because I know that I am eligible for life's small prizes; small things that are worth so much... a thank you after I've done something really well... a touch or a word when I am feeling down or things haven't worked out so well. ..a kiss from a loved one... a cuddle from a friend... a starry night... a full moon... an empty parking space. .. a beautiful smile... a crackling fire... a great meal... a glorious sunset... hot home made soup... freshly baked warm bread... cold beer... dark chocolate... great coffee.

Whatever it is that you are trying to achieve this year success won't be dependent on genius, talent or innate ability. OK, it ill have a lot to do with luck, being in the right place at the right time and who is on your side supporting you, but more importantly it will be about persistence, determination and sheer hard work. These things will help you achieve your goals and help us continue to deliver brilliant outcomes for children and young people here in Leeds in 2009.

Together we can make 2009 a year to remember. A year when everyone succeeds and we continue to build brilliant and make magic. This year could mark the beginning of a year of success and discovery for us all and I hope that this new year all your dreams turn into reality and all your efforts and hard work turn into great achievements.