Thursday, 10 June 2010

This afternoon I met with a small group of primary headteachers to talk about the opportunities and challenges we face as we build a new Children's Services world here in Leeds against a backdrop of 'savage' budget cuts and political change and professional change...

It was a great session which really helped me think about the areas we need to explore and manage as we build the team around the child, the team around the family and most importantly the team around the school as we reinvent, re-imagine and renew children's services here in Leeds. We all know that nothing we do exists in isolation, and to release the magic during our 15% of a child's time, we must powerfully connect with the child's family and the community where the child lives. We all know that in localities, where it really matters, our primary schools are at the front line of what we are doing. They reach out into every community across the city, touching and shaping young lives and are already making a real difference.

We agreed that we must work together to build a powerful and compelling picture of the future we want to create for our children and their families and help colleagues see where they fit within this new world. We must revisit and renew the culture of children's services, refocus on leadership development, and we must all think team.

We agreed that we must refocus our locality work starting with our primary schools to create a single set of coherent and agreed localities that are consistent across all partners and the Council and we need to maintain our relentless focus on developing intelligent, focused and passionate leadership and governance within these localities.

We agreed that we must continue to focus on developing our primary schools as outstanding learning places at the heart of these localities where multi-agency teams work and connect building on the workforce in our schools to connect with partner agencies like the police, health and social care.

We agreed that we must continue to focus on improving teaching and learning, creating the WOW factor, securing quality provision and nurturing passion, enthusiasm, creativity and imagination in every classroom and every school. We must continue to improve the quality of what happens in these classrooms.

We agreed that we must nurture and develop brilliant early years practice and ensure that Every Child is a Reader and Every Child Counts by the time they are seven or eight. And we need to ensure that as far as possible all our children became brilliant little learners by the time they leave primary school and are on a pathway to success by the time they are sixteen.

We agreed that we must continue to work with colleagues from Social Care, Health, the Police and the voluntary sector to support families through 'Think Family' approaches and build healthier and more sustainable communities and we must invest in workforce development to continue to develop a self-critical and reflective children's services workforce who understand how we keep our children and young people happy, healthy, safe and increasingly successful.

We agreed that above all at times like this we need to talk more, to share more, to network more, to celebrate more and to continue to build on the brilliant work we have been doing together to ensure that every child and young person is happy, healthy, safe and increasingly successful... whatever it takes.

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