Saturday, 19 September 2009

My colleague Alison Carrick, headteacher at Victoria Primary School, sent me this little bit of celebration with her school newsletter...

"Hi Chris, today 4 of our children went off in a stretch limo to enjoy a morning at Xscape at Castleford as a reward for coming to school every single day last year. They went tobogganing and then had lunch at a restaurant with Mrs Smith and Miss Underwood. Congratulations to them. I wonder what we will come up with for this year? Take care, hope to see you soon, Alison"

It's great to hear about exciting and innovative ways to encourage children to come to school more regularly which complement and extend our Attendance Champions work. It is also good to hear about the things that are happening at Victoria Primary School.
I moved on to Yeadon Westfield Infant School to their Messy Day to celebrate the official opening of their new extension for their nursery...

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Judith Elliott, formally opened the nursery and a wonderful time was had by all. The new nursery is really wonderful and bigger than most Children's Centres.
I hope that colleagues at Yeadon Westfield Infant School will send me some of their photos.
I started the day yesterday at the Leadership Forum at the Leeds Metropolitan University Rosebowl...

The session focused on Corporate Assessment, the new OFSTED Inspection Framework and safeguarding which sits at the heart of all our work. I talked to colleagues about the opportunities and challenges we face around standards, outcomes and our contract.

The big issues narrow down to five key areas:
  • Primary Standards and the Primary Floor Target Schools;
  • Place Provision and Primary Numbers;
  • Secondary Standards and the National Challenge Schools;
  • Leeds Inclusive Learning Strategy, Behaviour and Attendance;
  • Narrowing the Gap, Target Groups and Priority Areas.

I also talked through our Wicked Issues which will be the big opportunities and challenges over the next year:

  • Budget Issues;
  • White Paper: 21st Century Schools;
  • Children's Services;
  • National and Local Elections; and
  • OFSTED Inspections.

In uncertain times it is important to know who your friends are, who will stand beside you when the going gets tough, where any support is going to come from, where the challenges are and for me the key message is THINK TEAM. Looking around that room on Friday morning you realise what a talented and knowledgeable group of colleagues we have driving this agenda for Education Leeds. We certainly live in interesting times and we all know that it's going to be a great year!


Wednesday, 16 September 2009

I was told about the GoodGuide at the Daniel Goleman session earlier this week...

Daniel argued that we need to move beyond looking a simple carbon footprint stuff and the GoodGuide provides the world's largest and most reliable source of information on the health, environmental, and social impacts of the products in your home. With GoodGuide, you can:
  • Find safe, healthy and green products that protect you and your family;
  • Search or browse over 70,000 food, toys, personal care, & household products to see what’s really beneath the label;
  • Use expert advice and recommendations on products to quickly learn the impacts of what you buy;
  • Find better products and make purchasing decisions based on what’s important to you.
If you are interested in saving the world why not take a look at their website at
Last week was a celebration of brilliant buildings, brilliant leadership and brilliant people...

I visited some great schools in Leeds: our two new Academies - Leeds West and South Leeds; our two new schools built under the Building Schools for the Future programme - Allerton Grange and Swallow Hill; and Clapgate Primary School. I also went to Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College in Bradford. Here in Leeds we've built some truly exceptional buildings over the past few years; brilliant learning places that are at the heart of local communities. They are all unique, creative and imaginative places where wonderfully talented colleagues will be able to release the enormous potential and magic in our young people.

I spent time with some great leaders: Annette Hall, Colin Bell, Richard Hughes, Lesley Simpson, Rick Whittaker and Bernard Knowles. We have appointed some truly exceptional headteachers over the last few years; brilliant colleagues who have transformed learning in their schools and helped us achieve some outstanding outcomes. They are all unique, creative and wonderful colleagues whose leadership, commitment and example has helped us release the enormous potential and magic in our colleagues.

As with most weeks here in Leeds the real highlight was that I spent time with some extraordinary young people with enormous talent and potential. Potential doctors, lawyers, scientists, sportsmen, artists, teachers, managers, entrepreneurs, politicians; young people with energy, enthusiasm, character and magic. Young people who make it all worthwhile and who remind us why we are here.
I started the day with the Education Leeds Board...

We covered a huge agenda including a review of the year and a presentation on the wicked issues and challenges we face over the next year. We also covered the agenda for the October Executive Board alongside reports on our performance during the first quarter, this years admissions round, this years exam results, e-safety, changes to the authority's school transport policy, addressing the remaining National Challenge secondary schools and health, safety and well-being .

It was a really good meeting helping us continue to drive up standards and outcomes here in Leeds.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

I attended 'The Science of Success' a 'Benchmark for Business' Conference with Daniel Goleman and Malcolm Gladwell today with Dirk Gilleard and Helen Dumville...

Dr Daniel Goleman is an internationally renowned psychologist whose books 'Emotional Intelligence' and 'Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships' are on most peoples bookshelves. His latest book 'Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything' argues that new technologies will create 'radical transparency' will allow us to know the environmental, health and social consequences of what we buy.

Malcolm Gladwell is a writer with 'The New Yorker' and is one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. He is the author of three bestsellers: 'The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference', 'Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking' and 'Outliers: The Story of Success' which argues that luck, persistence, determination and hard work are the keys to success.

It ws a great day and we were all inspired by the two sessions which helped us understand the science of success. It will help shape the blog for the next few months.

Monday, 14 September 2009

This afternoon I attended the Children Leeds Partnership at the Leeds City Museum...

The afternoon focused on our developing attendance strategy, OFSTED inspection update, our family support and parenting review, our Care Matters 'promises', our workforce development strategy and our intergenerational strategy. A lot to cover in a very short time.
This morning I attended the 'Youth Justice; The Scaled Approach, Stakeholder Briefing Event' at the Civic Hall...

From December there will be significant shanges to the youth justice system with a new sentencing framework being introduced and a 'scaled approach' to tailor interventions to the offending young person based on their risks and needs. We had inputs from Jim Hopkinson, Youth Offending Service Manager here in Leeds, and his colleagues and from Frances Done, Chair of the Youth Justice Board.

The Leeds Youth Offending Service outputs and outcomes make interesting reading:
  • Ours is the 6th busiest YOS in the country;
  • 75% of offenders are boys;
  • Half the offences committed by young people are theft and handling, criminal damage and violence against the person;
  • 3142 young people committed 5750 offences last year;
  • Offending rates are falling!
Youth offending is strongly linked to poverty and deprivation and we need to work harder in schools with our colleagues in the police and the Youth Offending Service to target and work with vulnerable young people to give them education, employment and training alternatives.