Wednesday, 17 March 2010

I spent this evening at the Education Leeds 'Long Service Awards' at the Civic Hall...

We were there to celebrate the achievements of over 130 colleagues who had between them amassed over 3000 years service for Leeds City Council. This is what I said to the colleagues who attended...

Over the last nine years here in Leeds we have achieved something simply extra-ordinary and transformed the learning environment, the learning estate and the outcomes our children and young people achieve. Whatever anyone says education in Leeds is simply amazing.

We live in a world where we are facing a huge number of apparently intractable issues… the meltdown of the financial system, job losses, low standards, poor attendance, anti-social behaviour, teenage pregnancy, child obesity, mental health problems… but again this year the educational community in Leeds have achieved our best results ever.

This is my twelth celebration of Long Service here in Leeds. We are here to celebrate this evening 130 colleagues who have given an amazing 3000 years of service to children and young people, their families and their communities here in Leeds! We are celebrating tonight the work of dinner money collectors, site managers, superintendents, cleaners, cooks, kitchen and catering assistants, midday supervisors, learning support assistants, office and business managers, finance managers, admin managers and assistants, exams officers, learning mentors, nursery nurses, personnel officers, pupil welfare colleagues, key skills officers, teaching assistants and higher level teaching assistants, learning mentors, technicians, supervisory assistants, year leaders, higher learning leaders, inclusion team leaders, curriculum leaders, teachers, heads of technology, mathematics, music, sport and PE, physics and modern foreign languages, school leadership team members, headteachers and colleagues from Education Leeds.

Margaret Chase Smith said… "My creed is that public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people with full recognition that every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration, that constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought, that smears are not only to be expected but fought, that honour is to be earned, not bought."

We all know that despite the press coverage, at its best, education in Leeds is brilliant. We are building a passionate learning community here in Leeds with a focus on great leadership, brilliant teaching and learning, a wonderful coaching, nurturing and caring culture, powerful performance management, intelligent accountability, efficient and effective resource management alongside ownership, engagement, choice and voice. We are working together to create a powerful learning network where the 18000 colleagues in 265 schools and Education Leeds share and learn from each other and together discuss and develop our learning, our creativity and our ideas to build brilliant provision consistently across the city.

Martin Luther King said… "Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve."

The colleagues here this evening are wonderful examples of this and your achievements show what can be done with persistence, determination and hard work…through a life of service to young people, families and communities.

Albert Einstein said… "Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."

As you probably know, especially if you read my blog, I spend a lot of my time visiting brilliant primary schools, brilliant special schools and brilliant secondary schools and our own brilliant centres. And it is increasingly obvious that success here in Leeds doesn’t depend on Academies, OFSTED, National Strategies or synthetic phonics. It depends on amazingly talented individuals, like yourselves, whose work day-in, day-out is building brilliant and making such a difference.

Marian Wright Edelman said… "We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee."

It is great to see talented, brilliant, gorgeous and wonderful colleagues releasing their magic and through their service, persistence and determination making a real difference for the most important resource we have in this City… our children and young people. Congratulations on all your achievements and enjoy this evening and remember James M Barrie who said "Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves."


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