Monday, 15 March 2010

It's a difficult, challenging yet exciting time to be in children's services in Leeds...

On Monday, I met with Sue Davies who is head of learning and audience development at Leeds Museums and Galleries to talk about how we could work better together. On Tuesday I was in London with Dirk Gilleard and Dee Reid to attend a great session with Sir Ken Robinson who was talking about talent management and the importance of doing something you love. On Wednesday I attended the executive board meeting, where executive board approved the recommendation to end the Education Leeds' contract on 31 March 2011 and to create an integrated children's services directorate building on the best of what we have achieved together over the last nine years. On Thursday Eleanor Brazil, our interim director of children's services and I had breakfast with the Inner East family of schools headteachers before I met with Debbie Leigh from the Yorkshire Evening Post who is writing a story about Education Leeds. I then went to London for The Sunday Times 'Best Places to Work in the Public Sector' Awards Ceremony with Stephen Parkinson, chair of the Education Leeds board, Pat Toner, Dee Reid and Fiona Triller.

It is wonderful to know that Education Leeds is one of the best places to work in the public sector. We know that it is an extra-ordinary organisation on which the council will be able to build the new children's services arrangements. We are all facing relentless pressure, higher and higher expectations, along with the increased and increasing demands of driving and guiding the children's services world in Leeds towards improved performance and better outcomes for every child and very young person... whatever it takes! The real challenge now is how do we maintain the momentum and stay focused on what really matters while we bring our collective energies and efforts to bear on the task of building the new children's services directorate? How do we further develop the leadership, the culture, the environment and the structures that support, challenge and enable our provision and our colleagues to deliver significantly better outcomes for children, young people and their families? This challenge involves not only us as individuals, operating from our respective vantage points in a highly complex system, but all of us together... the power of TEAM! We must re-imagine our systems, processes and provision and be brave enough to ask ourselves the difficult questions about what works, why things are currently not working and what we can do to ensure that there is step change in outcomes for all young people here in Leeds.

I know times are uncertain, but the constants must be: do something; be happy; keep healthy; and stay safe.

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