Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Another stimulating and interesting week has simply flown by, and once again I spent time with talented colleagues who share my passion, commitment, enthusiasm, energy and commitment; and who like me are determined to continue our learning journey together to build brilliant here in Leeds...

I started the week at the 'Youth Justice: The Scaled Approach' stakeholder event at the Civic Hall where Jim Hopkinson, the youth offending service manager here in Leeds; some of his colleagues; and Frances Done, chair of the Youth Justice Board talked about the successes we have had tackling youth offending and the way the service will change from December. I moved on to the Children Leeds partnership at the City Museum where we focused on our developing our attendance strategy, the Ofsted inspection update, our family support and parenting review, our care matters 'promises', our workforce development strategy and our intergenerational strategy. On Tuesday, Dirk Gilleard, Helen Dumville and I attended "The Science of Success" with Daniel Goleman and Malcolm Gladwell at Manchester University. We were all inspired by the two sessions which helped us understand the science of success, and all came away keen to continue to build brilliant here in Leeds.

On Wednesday we had the Education Leeds board meeting where we covered a huge agenda including a review of the year and a presentation on the issues and challenges we face over the next year. I moved on to the Leeds City Council meeting which ranged across another huge agenda focusing on waste services, adult day care services and children's services in the light of the unannounced inspection, and which went on late into the evening. On Thursday I attended the scrutiny board meeting with Councillor Golton, Councillor Harker and colleagues for the first quarter monitoring report which looked our performance as children's services during the start of the financial year. I think the consistent message was we've done a lot, and we've achieved a lot, but we still could do better!

On Friday I started the day with colleagues from leadership forum at the Leeds Metropolitan University Rosebowl where we focused on corporate assessment, the new Ofsted inspection framework, and safeguarding which sits at the heart of all our work. I also talked to colleagues about the opportunities and challenges we continue to face around standards, outcomes and our contract. I managed to pop out to attend the official opening of the new nursery extension at Yeadon Westfield Infant School by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Elliott. The new nursery is a fantastic, spacious building and really wonderful.

At the start of another year and recognising that we live in uncertain times it is important to know who your friends are, who will stand beside you when the going gets tough, where the challenges are and where any support is going to come from. For me the key message is THINK TEAM! Looking around this week I realise what a diverse, creative, talented and knowledgeable group of colleagues we have driving this agenda forwards here in Leeds.

We certainly live in interesting times and we all know that it's going to be a great year!

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