Monday, 21 September 2009

I had lunch with Vernon Coaker MP, Minister of State for Schools and Learners...

Vernon Coaker is responsible in the Government for raising school standards, including public examinations and national tests, the National Curriculum, 14-19 education and Diplomas; school funding and capital, including Building Schools for the Future; and schools workforce issues. Vernon Coaker has been MP for Gedling in Nottinghamshire since 1997 and before becoming an MP, he was deputy headteacher at Bigwood School in Nottingham. He was parliamentary private secretary to Estelle Morris when she was secretary of state for education.

Vernon was at Parklands Girls High School with his colleagues looking at the progress the school has made under Helen Lane's dynamic and very focused leadership. Helen has been supported by Neil Clephan who, as well as being headteacher at Roundhay School, is one of our National Leaders of Education. It was great to be able to talk to the Minister about the real successes we have had with this years' GCSE results at Parklands Girls High School and across the city and to discuss the challenges we still face with the 'National Challenge' schools and our so called 'Coasting' schools.

I assured Vernon about our vision for learning in Leeds, our shared commitment to excellence and the sign up by secondary headteachers to results where no school in Leeds would be below the 'floor targets' by 2011... whatever it takes!

We now must make sure that we deliver.


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