Monday, 20 September 2010


It's a difficult time to be in the public sector as we wrestle with change on an unprecedented scale...

However, the last week reminded me what talent and potential we have here in Leeds and what a difference we are making. I visited Hillcrest Primary School and Victoria Primary School; two great primary schools serving very different communities with outstanding early years provision and helping children make the best possible start in life. I visited Temple Moor High School where with their students, their parents and carers and the staff team we celebrated the school's best ever examination results in their brilliant remodelled building. I spent time talking to the secondary headteachers and the SILC principals whose leadership, passion and commitment has built some outstanding provision and transformed the learning landscape here in Leeds. I also attended the Children's Trust Board and the children's services transformation programme leadership event where we shared the latest thinking about the new children's services arrangements for the city.

It was a wonderful week where I spent time with so many great colleagues who are changing things for the better, transforming little lives and building strong and effective local partnerships to secure better outcomes for children, families and communities. Over the last ten years we have achieved so much. We have transformed the learning landscape and the learning environment here in Leeds. We have achieved some incredible outcomes for our children and young people and their families and communities. Together, we have released the talent, magic and potential in so many of our children and young people, in our colleagues and in our schools. But we can never be complacent because, as always, there is much more to do!

We all know that we must work even closer together now because we now face a powerful combination of elements that will change the shape of everything we do whether we like it or not. Public spending cuts loom alongside the end of grant funding for a lot of our work. Education Leeds along with National Strategies; Government Office, the Building Schools for the Future programme, Becta, the General Teaching Council, the Qualifications, Curriculum and Development Agency and the Rose Review are all going to be consigned to the history books. Together, we must ensure that the new arrangements build on the best of what we have created over the last ten years and our collective challenge now is to continue the work we have been doing to ensure that every child in Leeds is happier, healthier, safer, even more successful and free from the effects of poverty… whatever it takes!

The climate of higher and higher accountability increases the weight of expectations facing all of us and as always the stakes are high. The biggest challenge lies in how we build intelligent leadership and create a culture of learning, a culture of safeguarding, and a culture of excellence. These challenges require all of us to work together... to take control and to re-imagine systems, processes and provision and to further develop the power of TEAM LEEDS!

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