Tuesday, 22 December 2009

"There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life happiness, freedom and peace of mind - are always attained by giving them to someone else."

Peyton Conway March

Tomorrow is my last day now until Monday 4th January so the blog will go quiet for a few days while I unwind, relax, recharge and get ready for yet another interesting and challenging 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. I hope that this Christmas brings you and those you love and care for, happiness, freedom and peace. See you in 2010!
Take care.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

This is my final message of 2009 and thankfully the end of term has come at last...

Last week started with the healthy schools team at Elmete before the usual round of Monday meetings. On Tuesday I attended the regional launch of the Healthy Schools Enhancement Model, sandwiched between the children services leadership team and corporate leadership team meetings. In the evening I had the honour of presenting certificates and prizes to some amazing young people at Horsforth School, Specialist Science College. On Wednesday I attended my son's graduation ceremony at the University of Leeds before the leaders' Christmas fuddle where we all said goodbye and thank you to Dave Page. After Cabinet, I managed to pop into Jean Lumb's retirement do before attending Hawksworth Wood Primary School's brilliant Egyptian Nativity. On Thursday Victoria Primary School's choir visited us at Merrion House to get us in the mood for Christmas. I popped in to Kerr Mackie Primary School to personally thank Maisie Child for designing our Christmas card for 2009 before attending fuddles at Elmete and Blenheim to thank colleagues for all their hard work this year. I finished the day judging some extraordinary young people at the wonderful School's Got Talent finals at Ralph Thoresby School. And finally, on Friday after leadership team I went to fuddles at Merrion and West Park to thank colleagues for all their hard work this year, before attending the final executive team meeting of the year.

Another week at the end of what has been a really interesting and challenging twelve months. I know that when things got really tough it was easy for some colleagues to fall into the blame trap and see it as some else's problem. I am grateful to those special colleagues who have simply rolled up their sleeves and got on with it; caught the ball when it came their way and dealt with it; saw the problem and just sorted it out. We are here to ensure that children and young people in Leeds achieve brilliant outcomes and to ensure that our schools achieve some really fantastic results. We must stay positive and optimistic when the going gets tough and laugh, joke and smile to get us through the dark times; and we have had plenty of those. We can't ever walk away and simply leave it.

So this Christmas, at the end of 2009, I want to thank you for everything you have done this term to achieve some brilliant outcomes and I want to thank those colleagues and teams who have gone the extra mile and released that special Education Leeds magic. They know who they are and they are all winners, all stars, all talented, brilliant, gorgeous and wonderful.