Friday, 21 May 2010

And then this afternoon I met Mollie who reminded me why I do this crazy job...

I met Mollie and her dad when I attended the Official Opening of the 'Learning Zone' at the Leeds Children's Hospital. It was wonderful to be there this afternoon, to meet Mollie and to receive the 'Learning Zone' wall plaque from Christa Ackroyd and Harry Gration from BBC Look North who officially opened the 'Learning Zone' for us.

Over the last nine years here in Leeds, we have transformed education and learning in the city. In our primary schools, our secondary schools and our SILCs, our special schools, we are delivering brilliant learning in brilliant learning places to ensure that our children and young people are happy, healthy, safe and increasingly successful… whatever it takes… and the 'Learning Zone' is more of what it takes!

Working with Maggie Boyle, the Chief Executive, and her colleagues in the Leeds Hospital Trust, together we have created this fantastic 'Learning Zone'. The 'Learning Zone' reflects our passion, commitment and determination to make a real difference for every child and every young person… even when they are in hospital like Mollie. The Hospital and Home Teaching Service working through the 'Learning Zone' is another of our bits of brilliant here in Leeds and we are blessed as parents and carers to have such outstanding provision delivered here by Penny Woodhead and her talented team of teachers, Higher Level Teaching Assistants and Learning Mentors. It is also a great privilege to be working with Diane Reynard the Principal of the East SILC which manages and delivers the Hospital and Home Teaching Service. Diane's inspiration and leadership has shaped and secured some extra-ordinary provision for this group of our most special children and young people. And by the way it was Mollie who told Harry, Christa and I that the Learning Zone was simply brilliant and it was our fruiends from OFSTED who said the Hospital and Home Teaching Service was outstanding!

We are grateful to Christa and Harry for their time today and for their support over the years, which has been tremendous. Thank you to Maggie and her colleagues in the Trust for everything they do and their shared commitment to the 'Learning Zone'. My personal thanks and congratulations go to Diane, Penny and the team from the East SILC who are continuing to release the magic, the potential and the WOW factor for every child and every young person whose lives they touch in the children’s hospital.

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