Monday, 30 August 2010


"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."

Calvin Coolidge

I have been doing this for a long time and, after yet another Summer, I am more and more convinced that our continued success depends on how brave you are prepared to be in an increasingly interesting world...

I know that I say this every year, but these next few months are going to be critical as we approach the new set of opportunities and challenges with the new children's services arrangements; more DfE initiatives; even more focus on standards and safeguarding; and with more academies rolling across the learning landscape: a learning landscape where money is going to be increasingly tight; and this Autumn's spending review likely to bring even more change and challenge.

These last ten years here in Leeds have taught me that to be really successful in a big city takes strength, resilience, intelligence and understanding which; when supported by a toolkit containing visualizations, affirmations, self-talk; and driven by persistence, determination and hard work; releases magic. Looking back over these ten years I realise how different I am and the simple things I have learned here in Leeds:

  • Learn to listen.
  • Read, check out and share your success stories.
  • Passion, patience, and persistence are the keys to success.
  • Failure, mistakes and setbacks are how you learn.
  • Develop "Ok, so what do we do now?" thinking.
  • Spend your time and energy looking for answers and constantly solving problems.
  • Do something totally different and change routines regularly.
  • Focus on improving your fitness, personal health and wellbeing.
  • Work with brilliant people and avoid the moaners.
  • Find and be part of a strong community of like-minded people.
  • Focus relentlessly on outcomes and results.

Belonging to the new children's services and to the learning team here in Leeds is an exciting and dynamic opportunity to build on what we have achieved over the last ten years. I’ll continue to try to get to as many schools, centres, team meetings and talk to as many of you as I can to listen to your views and concerns and to get your advice, help and support for the next stage in the journey.

Keep the faith!


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