Thursday, 9 September 2010

This afternoon I attended our Leadership Forum meeting at the Shine centre on Harehills Lane...
It was wonderful to spend time with this great group of colleagues after the Summer break and congratulate them on everything we have achieved over the last year and the last ten years. Here at Education Leeds, we have created a unique, award-winning organisation and together with colleagues in schools we have created an educational landscape which has achieved great things and every internal, external and impartial assessment and inspection carried out recently, including the latest OFSTED Inspection of Safeguarding and Looked-after Children, has recognised our success, the relationships we have built and the outcomes we have achieved for children and young people.

We have had a fantastic year here in Leeds and I would want to thank those colleagues, partners and friends who have made it such a pleasure for us: the colleagues and the wonderful young people in schools I have visited and my colleagues within Education Leeds who have made leading Education Leeds such a privilege. You have helped me recognise and celebrate the enormous potential we have here in Leeds where at its best we are truly brilliant. Schools and colleagues have on so many occasions this year and over the last ten wonderful years released the magic and this has enriched my life and given me such pleasure.

Over the last ten years we have achieved so much; we have transformed the learning landscape and the learning environment here in Leeds and 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!

My Highlights

We have recruited some great colleagues this year and colleagues have gone the extra mile and some over the last year... just read the blog to see who the real heroes are!

Everything we do together critically depends on people and partnerships and in Leeds these are going from strength to strength. Partnerships with:
Primary Partnerships;
Secondary Partnerships and Federations;
Inclusion Partnerships;
West Yorkshire Police;
Colleagues in Health;
Voluntary and Community partners;
Faith partners;
The Chamber of Commerce;
……..and many more!

Everything we do together critically depends on people and relationships and in Leeds these are going from strength to strength. Relationships with:
Headteacher Forum;
Governor Forum;
Families of Schools;
Schools Forum;
Children’s Services;
Leeds City Council;
……..and many more!

This has been an incredible year in terms of outcomes and impact and we are beginning to see real progress in some of our stubborn and difficult areas.
Further improvements in Foundation Stage outcomes;
Improved Key Stage 2 outcomes across the board with a reduction in the number of schools below the floor target from 34 to 25;
Further improvements in Key Stage 3 outcomes;
Significant improvements in Key Stage 4 outcomes with a reduction in the number of schools below the 2011 floor target to three;
Improved Key Stage 5 outcomes;
Best attendance ever but persistent absence remains a significant challenge;
Reduced fixed term exclusions with permanent exclusions remaining low;
……..and much, much more!

Learning Environments
This year has seen the next phase of the most ambitious school building programme in Leeds since the Victorian age which has over the last ten years involved the closure of 17 primary schools, six high schools and the complete rationalisation of the special school estate along with the construction, rebuilding, remodelling and improvement to 27 primary schools and 21 high schools. This year’s highlights include:
Development of the Specialist Inclusive Learning Centres;
Official Opening of the West Oaks Interactive Zone;
Official Opening of the Leeds Children’s Hospital Learning Zone;
Official Opening of Pudsey Grangefield School;
Official Opening of Rodillian School by Ed Balls, Secretary of State;
Opening of Allerton Grange School;
Opening of Swallow Hill Community College;
Opening of South Leeds Academy;
Opening of Leeds West Academy;
Opening of Cockburn College remodelled buildings;
Opening of Temple Moor High School remodelled buildings;
Opening of Crawshaw School remodelled buildings;
Cutting the Sod Ceremony at Leeds West Academy by Ed Balls, Secretary of State;
Primary Capital Programme work on Bankside Primary School,
Primary Capital Programme work agreed for Richmond Hill Primary School; Greenhill Primary School; Gildersome Primary School; Saints Peter and Paul RC Primary School; Oulton Primary School and Swillington Primary School.
Official Opening of the Early Years Extension at Hill Top Primary School
……..and much, much more!

Conferences and Celebrations
Once again this year we have been fortunate to experience some incredible events here in Leeds which have made a real difference to our culture, our systems and our practice and challenged us to achieve even more.
‘Be the Best You Can Be’ Support Staff Conference;
‘Building Our Brilliant Best’ Conference;
‘Learning Landscapes’ School Improvement Conference;
‘Stepping Stones’ Looked After Children Celebrations;
Attendance Champions;
Be Healthy! Be Creative! Challenge Celebration;
City Learning Centre National Conference;
DCSF ‘Stephen Lawrence Education Standard’ Launch Conference;
Education Leeds Annual Lecture;
Extended Services Conference;
Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month Celebrations;
Gypsy Roma Traveller Prize Giving and Achievement Award Ceremony;
Headteacher Retirement Celebration;
Healthy Schools and Well-being Celebration;
Healthy Schools Enhancement Model Regional Launch Conference;
Higher Level Teaching Assistant Celebrations;
Inclusion Chartermark Celebration;
Inclusion Chartermark Celebration;
Leading and Managing Change Conference
Learning Outside the Classroom Conference;
Leeds Governors Conference;
Leeds Mentoring Celebrations;
Long Service Awards;
Looked After Children Celebration;
Newly Appointed Primary Headteachers Conference;
Parent Support Adviser Conference;
Primary African Caribbean Excellence/Black Children’s Achievement Programme Celebration;
Primary Headteachers ‘New Curriculum’ Conference;
Primary Newly Qualified Teachers Conference;
Progression to Post-16 and Higher Education in Inner South Leeds Conference;
RM/EL EVOLVE Celebrating Success in Leeds Conference;
RM/EL EVOLVE Transforming Technology Conference;
Secondary Newly Qualified Teachers Conference;
Show Racism the Red Card;
Social Enterprise ‘Flying Higher’ Showcase and Celebration;
Stephen Lawrence Education Standard Celebration;
Supplementary Schools Celebration;
The ‘Power to Change’ Conference;
……..and much, much more!

Innovations, Initiatives and Publications
The future is about creativity, imagination and talent and we have seen some really significant innovations this year.
‘Speak Out’ publication for School Councils;
Artforms ‘Drawing Across the Curriculum’ initiative;
Children’s Voices ‘What we want from the Primary Curriculum’ publication
Developing Your Playground: ‘Time to Play’ publication;;
Early Years Gypsy Roma Traveller ‘Building Futures, Developing Trust’ publication;
European Union Funding for successful bids for Comenius Regio Projects linking Leeds with schools in Spain, Nykoping and Stockholm in Sweden;
First Diploma Graduation Ceremony;
First Yorkshire Evening Post ‘Best in School’ Awards
Leeds Children’s University established;
Leeds EVOLVE website developed;
Shortage Subjects Trainee Teachers Recruitment event;
Three Cities project linking Leeds with Stockholm and Helsinki to develop leadership and partnerships between schools;
Willow Young Carers DVD launched;
…….and much, much more!

We can get bogged down by the problems and the issues but we have had some really fantastic successes this year.
‘Investing in Diversity’ Leadership Programme;
‘Schools Got Talent’ competition;
‘Spirit Alive’ our school based mini-olympics initiative;
‘The Power of Me’ anti-bullying initiative;
11 Million Takeover Day;
95% of schools achieved Healthy Schools status;
96% of schools are now delivering the full extended services core offer;
Anti-bullying Ambassadors;
Another 61 schools achieved the Inclusion Chartermark;
Another 75 schools are working on the Stephen Lawrence Education Standard;
Independent Travel project at Leeds City College;
North of England Education Conference coming to Leeds in 2012;
Otley Schools Anti-Racism Charter launch;
Special Educational Needs Market Place event;
Stephen Lawrence Education Standard Faith Cluster launch;
Sustainable Schools initiative;
We exceeded our Participation in School Sport and Activity targets;
……..and much, much more!

Awards and Recognition
We can get overwhelmed by the challenges but we have had some really wonderful awards and recognition this year.
‘Out of Bounds’ film about the lives of some of our young people with disabilities won the MediaBox Impact Award at the First Light Film Awards;
‘Spirit Alive’ awarded ‘Inspire Mark’ as part of the London 2012 programme;
Artforms Music Service judged outstanding in its national DSCF supported inspection;
British Council ‘Link2Learn’ Awards for Cookridge Primary School, Bramley Primary School and Brigshaw High School;
Deaf and Hearing Impaired Service recognised nationally as a model of excellent practice;
Visually Impaired Service was awarded the regional Quality Mark for Visually Impaired Services;
Visually Impaired Service re-awarded the contract for supporting British Forces schools in Europe;
Education Leeds nominated and shortlisted for the Collaboration and Partnership Award at the Widening the Talent Pool Race for Equality Awards;
Education Leeds nominated for seven awards at the Local Government ‘Making a Difference Awards’ achieving two highly commended and our Visually Impaired Team winning the Outstanding Contribution Award;
Education Leeds reaccredited for its work on Environmental Management And Sustainability;
Education Leeds reaccredited for the Customer Service Excellence standard;
Eight colleagues nominated for the Leeds City Council Excellence Awards;
Food for Life Partnership Awards for Middleton Primary School and Pudsey Primrose Hill Primary School;
Groundwork Green Check Awards for The Whartons Primary School, Calverley CE Primary School and Park Spring Primary School;
Leeds BSF scheme nominated for three national awards;
Leeds Education Business Partnership achieved the Education Business Excellence Award;
Leeds Mentoring one of only ten mentoring services achieving the new quality standard;
Leeds Parent Partnership Service reaccredited with the Cabinet Office Chartermark;
Local Government Social Enterprise Award for Bruntcliffe High School;
Pudsey Grangefield School won one of the Leeds Architecture Awards;
Teaching Awards for colleagues at Farsley Farfield Primary School and Austhorpe Primary School;
Education Leeds recognised as one of the Times 100 ‘Best Places to Work in the Public Sector’;
……..and much, much more!

My Lowlights

All the colleagues we have lost.

The outcome of the unannounced and announced inspections of Children’s Services.
The decision to end the Education Leeds contract.

Schools Still needing intensive support
City of Leeds School;
Primrose High School;
Parklands Girls High School;
Swallow Hill Community College.

Trying to move too fast;
Trying to do too much;
Not listening well enough.

The Remaining Challenges
The budget;
The changing schools landscape;
Implications of the growing child population;
Raising the attainment and achievement of children on free school meals;
Managing the most complex and challenging behaviour;
Reducing the number of young people who are NEET;
Tackling obesity;
Tackling sexual health problems and reducing teenage conceptions;
Creating the future arrangements.

The key messages at the end of what was a great afternoon were;

  • Be determined, persistent and work hard;
  • Be positive, optimistic and enthusiastic;
  • Carry on with the day job;
  • Keep calm and carry on!
  • Remember who we all work for... the children and young people of Leeds!
  • Look after yourself and your colleagues;
  • Smile, laugh and get some exercise;
  • Keep the faith!


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