Wednesday, 6 October 2010

My colleague Richard Boughey who is our Transformation Programme Manager here at Education Leeds sent me this e-mail about our recent visitors from Stckholm...

"Hello Chris, Last week teachers from five schools in Sweden spent two days working with their partner schools in Leeds as part of a Comenius Regio project into the use of ICT to support learning outcomes. I had the privilege to sit into their collective working session on the last day of their visit and I’ve recorded just some of the amazing things I heard;

“I am gobsmacked, as you would say, ICT is a such a big part of the British curriculum and Sweden prides itself on being with companies such as Sony Erickson and yet children are left to their own devices. We can’t reach all the children like we saw in the school and I hope that somebody sees the light soon enough and changes it and included it in the national curriculum in Sweden”
“My strong impression is how dedicated the teachers are, I was really impressed by that, they worked hard and were so dedicated. This school is a safe haven, many didn’t want to leave school when is was over and wanted to stay.”
 “Lovely inspiration from everything we saw. It was fun all the time between teacher and student, very relaxed, they were both warm, soft and hard at the same time.”

“Went to visit the Grafton Learning Centre and I was personally very impressed with that as we don’t have anything like it in Sweden and then visited the hospital school which was even more impressive.”

“We took part in a pancake race and we saw this teacher who was so dedicated in what she was doing with those children and it was so much fun. They raced in their wheelchairs the assistant helping them flip the pancake, it was fantastic. We had a great time and met so many dedicated teachers and saw pupils that are so different from ours, but yet not.”

“The dedication of the teachers, wonderful pupils who were very curious about Sweden and interested in the projects. Everything is planned in so much detail, how do you think outside the box, but you obviously do.”

“The children were so polite and very curious about our Swedish kids and we are really looking forward to getting going on the project.”

As you know, projects like this are not easy to set up and occasions like this are truly inspirational because the hard work to get them going is repaid hundreds of times over by the enthusiasm of the participants, the excitement and the knowledge that so many young people in two countries will benefit. Thanks, Richard"

Visits like this remind us all that what really, really matters is the quality of the teams we build around our children and young people. We need trusted, empowered and talented colleagues to release the magic! We need to get out of this viscious spiral of negativity, of it's not good enough so let's do something else, let's create another intiative, let's get more academies when we really need to reflect, think and get back to basics so that every child attends a great school with  compelling vision, positive behaviour and discipline, a relentless focus on outcomes, passionate learning, strong engagement of parents and carers, great relationships between young people and their learning team and inspirational and distributed leadership. Let us nurture and support our learning teams to ensure that they deliver for our children and young people and let's take the best of what we do here in Leeds and learn from the best practice nationally and from Reggio Emilia, and from Sweden and Finland and Denmark and anywhere that will help us to build brilliant local provision.

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