Saturday, 19 June 2010

It has been an amazing week packed with brilliant activities, stimulating meetings and fantastic school visits in the run up to the end of the summer term...

On Monday, I visited the South SILC at the Broomfield site where Pam Barrett, Katie Cass and their colleagues are releasing a very special magic. The South SILC has been transformed since my last visit. Pam and Katie's passion, commitment, determination and hard work has really made an extraordinary difference as evidenced by the recent Ofsted judgements. These identified the South SILC as a good school with many outstanding features. I moved on to visit Holy Rosary and St Anne's Catholic Primary School to talk to Kathryn Carter, the headteacher at this brilliant little inner city primary school about the development of a ground breaking and unique maintained Cathedral Choir School. After lunch, I met Colin Bell, Principal at the South Leeds Academy to talk about the relationship Academies here in Leeds have with Education Leeds.

On Tuesday, was the Leeds Special Educational Needs marketplace event at the Civic Hall. The event was funded by Children Leeds Aiming Higher for Disabled Children and was co-ordinated by the parent partnership service. The event was a brilliant celebration of our work and of the teams who work so hard to make a real difference for some of our most special children and their parents and carers.

On Wednesday, I attended and spoke at the social enterprise celebration and showcase event 'Flying High!' at the Holiday Inn at Garforth. I moved on again to join a meeting of our performance management and information team; a great team of colleagues whose work lies at the heart of so much of what we do here at Education Leeds in helping to shape our culture which is about coaching, conversations, reflective practice and continuous improvement. I moved on again to see Simon Flowers, headteacher at Carr Manor High School to talk about the challenges and opportunities we face, to walk around the school and to see the total transformation that has happened under Simon's passionate, dynamic and determined leadership. Later in the afternoon, I met with Steve Williamson from Renew to talk about the opportunities and challenges we face as we move into this new world. It was a great session which really helped me to think about the areas we need to explore and manage as we build the team around the child. And finally, at the end of the day I visited Leeds Trinity University College to attend their '4th Annual Education Partnership Schools Concert 2010'. The theme was 'Thank you for the music' and it was a wonderful celebration of music and song featuring the choirs from St Theresa's, St Augustine's, Beeston St Francis, Our Lady's and Rothwell St Mary's Catholic Primary Schools here in Leeds.

On Thursday, I visited Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School for the start of their Stephen Lawrence Education Standard Faith Cluster launch event which was brilliant and had an extraordinary magic. It was inspiring to see these great schools coming together to share, to network and to learn about the power of teamwork as we wrestle with the biggest challenges we have ever faced. I moved on again to Highfield Primary School to see Julie Colley, the new headteacher, who with her talented team is building on the achievements of her predecessor to create an outstanding school that caters for the needs of an increasingly diverse community. Over lunch I met candidates for the director of children's services post before moving on again to St Matthew's CE Primary School. Heather Lacey, the new headteacher, is doing a great job building on some strong foundations to create a great school to serve this rich multicultural community. And finally, I attended the official opening of the Farsley/Calverley Children's Centre by Cllr Andrew Carter. The new Children's Centre is a wonderful addition to Farsley Farfield Primary School which is a great school with a fantastic team of colleagues doing great things in this little bit of Leeds.

I have been in Leeds now for 475 weeks and each one has been part of an amazing adventure where we have rewritten the Leeds story and created somewhere where the extraordinary, the wonderful and the simply brilliant is common place. I know that some people talk about a lack of consistency across the city but what they fail to understand is the journey schools, communities and localities have been on over the last five years together with the development of Children's Services.

The challenges we are currently facing are actually an opportunity to re-imagine, to re-engineer and to create new slim and highly focused local authority models that build and support our extraordinary provision.

If we want to build brilliant and if we are serious about trust, empowerment, freedom, flexibility and responsibility sitting at the heart of our work we must all take a deep breath and continue to encourage schools at the heart of their communities, to 'Think Family' and all work together to develop powerful communities through social enterprise, volunteering and public companies.

The Education Leeds story has shown us what is possible and we must now build a new set of Children's Services arrangements that can write the next chapters in the Leeds story and continue to build brilliant provision for all our children, young people, families and communities. Chris

No comments: