Saturday, 3 October 2009

Another relentless and uncompromising week at the office, but one in which I realised that to really develop Children's Services and a children's world here in Leeds, we must change the language and reinvent our vocabulary. We must move away from language which carries so much baggage and history, and start using more inclusive and supportive terms like learning places; learning teams; colleagues and partners...

The week started with our leadership team meeting before I attended a corporate leadership team emergency planning session at the Carriageworks, whilst my colleagues attended the launch of the new Children and Young People's Plan. I attended the usual mix of meetings with councillors, colleagues and the corporate leadership team. I also managed to squeeze in dinner with our visitors from Brno in the Czech Republic. On Wednesday, I visited Rawdon Littlemoor Primary School where Shelagh Henderson and her team are doing brilliant work and achieving great results, before visiting Swallow Hill Community College to be interviewed about our developing partnership with RM. I also attended the Cabinet meeting to discuss the next executive board agenda, and later I met Vladimir Moskovan and Roel Rhoner to talk about how we might continue to develop the relationship with Brno and build on the partnership and the learning between the two cities. On Thursday, I spoke at the Primary Newly Qualified Teachers welcome event at the Village Hotel. The event attracted around 150 young talented teachers starting their learning journey here in Leeds, and it was wonderful to be with them. I moved on to visit Carr Manor High School for their launch of Black History Month with colleagues from Primary Colours. Linda Bowles and her team are doing fantastic things and achieving great results. I also attended the Beeston Community Forum to talk about the progress we are making in the Beeston schools and the challenges we still face. And finally the week ended with another extended Leadership Team meeting looking at the challenges we are facing with the new Ofsted framework. A framework focused on safeguarding and standards, and underpinned by co-operation, teamwork, networking and partnering.

We must continue to encourage colleagues from across Children's Services to co-operate, network and partner; working together on BRILLIANT projects, challenges and initiatives to improve outcomes for children and young people, their families and their communities. We must dig deep to find, nurture and sustain talent across the Children's Services world and wherever possible we must celebrate our successes however large or small with t-shirts, buttons, badges, wristbands, certificates, awards and chocolate! And to conquer the new challenge from Ofsted we must declare war on complexity; stay focused on the basics, on outcomes, standards and evidence; keep it simple; and create beautiful systems that reinforce our culture and our values. Above all, we must communicate, communicate, communicate.

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