Monday, 26 January 2009

“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide on, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage. Peace has its victories but it takes brave men and women to win them.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Another week of early starts and long days...

I met Chris Halsall's team to talk about the outstanding primary schools, our successes and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead with our primary provision. I met the Leeds High School headteachers to talk about this years fantastic GCSE results and the challenges and opportunities we face with our secondary provision. I met with colleagues in the North East to talk about trust, trust schools, and the opportunities and challenges we face in developing coherent, inclusive and joined up secondary provision in this bit of Leeds. I had lunch with colleagues from the information management team who talked passionately about the work they are doing and the challenges we all face with communication, connections and retaining great staff. I met with colleagues from Teach First, an initiative that has been hugely successful in London and the North West putting graduates into challenging schools, and who are now looking to come to Leeds. I visited Guiseley School to support the exciting work they are doing to develop their provision and their community programmes using the Stephen Lawrence Education Standard. And finally, I had lunch with Paul Napier and Nicola Megson from the Yorkshire Evening Post where we talked about the opportunities and challenges facing us all and how we could develop more of a shared agenda.

There is so much negativity around; in people who only see the glass as half empty… who see problems not opportunities… who want to criticise rather than congratulate. We know that expectations and the challenges we face have increased, working hours are long, demands are relentless, and technology means there is nowhere to hide. But these challenges also provide opportunities for us to step up to the plate, to strive for excellence, and to prove that we are more capable than ever.

If we are going to continue to do what we do so well as a team, we must…

  • Prepare, review, coach and train.
  • Remember successes, and focus on what has gone well.
  • Learn from everything we do and review, analyse, and evaluate.
  • Don’t get bogged down by setbacks, but use them to learn and do better.
  • Control things, be prepared, and be organised.
  • Manage our attitudes to be optimistic and positive.
  • Seek challenges and get feedback to improve our performance.
  • Create a brilliant working environment and play to our strengths.
  • Look after ourselves and each other… eat well, exercise, relax, and sleep.

And remember that: "Winning is about individuals performing when the going gets tough, not when it’s easy."
Keep the faith

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