Thursday, 30 July 2009

"Whatever you do, you need courage.
Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong.
There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe 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."

The blog will again go quiet for a few days while I continue to get rid of the knots, unwind, relax, recharge and get ready for yet another brilliant year here in Leeds. I hope everyone out there manages to do the same. And remember when you are out there... think team, think family, think about the things that really, really matter and hold hands and stick together.

Take care.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

I had a really interesting meeting this morning with Ger Graus, Chief Executive of the Children's University. The meeting had been arranged by Mark Hopkins and was also attended by Alison Shaffner from the Extended Services team, Andrea Cowans from the 14 - 19 team, Kes Sowerby from the Study Support team and John Price from the Find Your Talent team. We have an opportunity to develop the work that the Seacroft and Manston schools have been doing with the Children's University, with the Children's University providing some start up funding.

The Children's University is a national organisation that provides support to 7 to 14 year olds accessing an exciting and innovative menu of learning activities and experiences outside normal school hours. It celebrates the learning journey through a 'Passport to Learning' and recognises achievement and rewards participation through certificates and ceremonies. Raising children's aspirations is important to the Children's University which aims to develop the understanding that learning can help us all on our journeys to better places in life!

The Children's University could build on the brilliant work already going on in Leeds in Playing for Success, Study Support, Breeze, Find Your Talent and connect with every sports venue, museum, gallery, library, attraction, business and learning place in Leeds and across the City Region. Mark is going to set up a small working group to develop a Leeds Action Plan to take this forward and connect some of the pieces of brilliant work we are already doing to establish more of a learner entitlement for our 7 - 14 year olds across the city.

Watch this space.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

I started the day early at the Learning Centre at Headingley...

This week is one of two weeks this Summer where John Bedford and his colleagues are releasing the magic at the two learning centres; Yorkshire Cricket and Leeds Rhinos. It was wonderful to see twenty, very lucky young people arriving for their second day at the Learning Centre and to see the relationships John and his colleagues have developed with these young people; many of whom have already experienced one of the Learning Centre programmes.

The more I see these Centres and the brilliant work they do the more I want to franchise the brand. Wouldn't it be great to have one in every school or at the very least one in every cluster in Leeds.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

It doesn't matter where we look - school, classroom, staffroom, organisation, team, office - we need to ask ourselves the following questions...
  • 'what are our strengths?'
  • 'what are our weaknesses?'
  • 'what does brilliant learning in brilliant learning places look like?'
  • 'what do the pieces of the brilliant jigsaw puzzle look like?'
  • 'where is it happening?'
  • 'where are our stars?'
  • 'which teams are releasing the magic?
  • 'which individuals are releasing the magic?'
  • 'can we share and learn from what we know works?'
  • 'can we share and learn from what we know doesn't work?'
  • 'how do we learn from our mistakes?'
  • 'how can we turn our challenges and opportunities into adventures for our colleagues?'
  • 'how can we give individuals and team opportunities to experiment, explore and take risks?'
How do we continue to build brilliant in a changing world?
All comments, suggestions and advice welcome.