Wednesday, 21 January 2009

We have just published the secondary performance tables and they are our best results ever…..

  • permanent exclusions are down again;
  • fixed term exclusions are down; and
  • attendance is up.

We have also seen…

  • GCSE 5A*-C increase by 5% to 62.4% (nationally 65.3%);
  • GCSE 5A*-C inc English & Maths increase by 4% to 46.4% (nationally 47.6%); and importantly
  • the number of young people achieving nothing after eleven years of statutory education reduced by over 25%!

We all know what works…

  • strong, discipline, focused and passionate leadership,
  • clear vision, values and beliefs driving all aspects of the school,
  • talented, energetic, enthusiastic, creative teams,
  • stimulating, relevant and engaging programmes of work,
  • stimulating and interesting learning environments,
  • high expectations of everyone,
  • tracking, coaching and mentoring,
  • the engagement of young people,
  • strong partnerships with parents and carers,
  • comprehensive partnerships with other agencies and organisations.

We have proved the doubters wrong and we are building really solid foundations which are engaging young people, parents and carers and communities. These foundations focus on individualised challenge and support, real excellence in teaching and learning and an uncompromising commitment to continuous improvement.

We need to produce a 'Great Schools Report' to celebrate what we’ve achieved at places like Cockburn Community College, John Smeaton Community College, the David Young Community Academy, Pudsey Grangefield School and Morley High School. Places where we have got parents involved, raised expectations, raised standards, improved the quality of teaching, improved the quality of leadership and provided a rich, relevant and engaging curriculum in brilliant facilities.

However, we can never be complacent because we have so much more to do and the answers lie in developing:

  • new models of governance, leadership and management,
  • structural solutions involving small units - 250 or less students,
  • high expectations for all,
  • local control and local accountability,
  • ways of maximising funding to schools,
  • parent participation, and
  • provision that opens long and often.

To really achieve outstanding and sustainable outcomes in some of the poorest and lowest performing communities we need to do three things:

  • Increase the time young people are learning. Start early and finish late. Open on Saturdays. Cut the summer holidays. Focus on the basics within a rich offer of the arts, music, sport and visits.
  • Focus on teaching and goal setting. Use data and information to target effort and energy. Train and retain the teaching and learning team. Coach and develop the teaching and learning team. Focus on results but also on team building, cooperation, enterprise, creativity and rewards.
  • Focus on behaviours, values and character. Use slogans, posters, encouragements and rudiments to encourage teamwork, optimism, aspirations, effort and hard work.

Ownership, partnership, accountability and responsibility are the keys to our relentless and uncompromising drive to become world class. We must target programmes around our disadvantaged young people. We must embrace change and use Academies, Trusts, through schools and anything else we can think of to drive the re-engineering of our provision. If we are really serious about great schools we need to recruit, retain and develop great leaders, great teachers and great colleagues who will work with us to make it happen.


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