Monday, 11 October 2010


"In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists."

Eric Hoffer

It has been a great week with visits to some extraordinary schools and a session with the future of teaching and learning here in Leeds...
I visited Lawns Park Primary School. It was great to visit this little school and talk to Rebecca Ford, the school's talented headteacher, about the approach the school has developed using Guy Claxton's work which is based on the principle that all students can develop their learning power and achieve. I attended Farnley Park Maths and Computing College where young people from Farnley Park, Lawns Park Primary School and the West SILC carried out the sod-turning ceremony to mark the start of this fantastic £23 million building project. I visited Rawdon St Peter's Church of England Primary School for the official opening of their new community room and extended services building. Caroline Sibson, the headteacher of this great little school, and the team have transformed provision at Rawdon St Peter's Church of England Primary School and the new provision is brilliant. I attended the newly qualified primary teachers induction and welcome event for over 150 talented, brilliant, gorgeous and wonderful teachers who have joined our primary schools and SILCs this year. I briefly visited the South SILC Broomfield to see John Fryer, the new principal, who I had met over breakfast earlier this term, to talk about how we further develop the SILC estate and improve the learning landscape particularly for the very special group of children who attend the SILCs. I visited Westbrook Lane Primary School where Joan Kay, headteacher, and her talented team are doing great things and releasing a very special magic; and finally I visited Valley View Primary School where Sarah Griggs, the headteacher, and her team have transformed the school and built something extra-ordinary.

I always ask myself after visiting schools what is it that makes a school a brilliant learning place and what can we learn from what talented colleagues are doing in schools across this wonderful city. The answers aren't rocket science. You need outstanding, focused and passionate leadership with clear values, beliefs and behaviours driving all aspects of the work of the school. You need an inclusive learning culture within highly focused, consistent and beautiful systems. You need a great teaching and learning team with a focus on excellence, high standards and positive behaviour. You need an uncompromising and relentless focus on outstanding teaching and learning within an attractive and stimulating learning environment. And most of all, everyone has to have high expectations and be prepared to work hard!

We are not asking much!

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