Tuesday, 12 October 2010


I attended the Primary Headteachers Seminar at the Banqueting Suite at Elland Road today...

My colleague Chris Halsall, who heads up our brilliant primary school improvement team, had invited me to this last opportunity to talk to the primary headteachers as a group about our achievements and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. I talked about the keys to brilliant: people, leadership, teamwork, attitude, trust, determination, commitment, partnership, ownership and engagement. Together, we have created something quite extra-ordinary over the last ten years which has transformed learning and our learning places and as we face the 'perfect storm' we must simply roll our sleeves up and continue to release the magic. The magic and potential in our colleagues who stand every day on the front line and in our children, our young people and their families. And don't let anyone tell you that we can't do it because in countless pockets of magic across the city we are!

Mel Ainscow, Professor of Education and Co-director for Equity in Education at Manchester University, who is the Government's Chief Adviser for the Greater Manchester Challenge had also talked to colleagues about the work he is doing with self-improving schools. My colleague Paul Brennan, director for School improvement, also talked about the new ways of working we are exploring as part of the new Children's Services arrangements and our developing thinking around school improvement. Primary schools lie at the heart of the work we are doing with children and families and we must continue to encourage and support our schools to work together and share and network their best practice.

I am deeply grateful to these colleagues who have enriched my life over the last ten years here in Leeds. It was wonderful to spend some time with 120 headteachers who are doing incredible work at primary schools across the city. My only question and challenge is where were the other 100 headteachers?

1 comment:

Peter Harris said...

I am sorry that you are leaving Chris and I would like to thank you for your leadership in Leeds over recent years.

You question why only just over half of primary heads attended today's seminar and phrase it as a criticism of those that didn't attend. I didn't attend because the agenda wasn't inspiring, covering ground we may have covered before, and the previous seminar was not fulfilling. You have encouraged us to be selective in the meetings we attend - and to question their benefits - and we are doing so. I had a really productive day in school - especially as my diary was free of more meetings because the secretary thought I was going to be at the seminar!