Monday, 22 November 2010


Only four weeks left and the time is flying by...

It has been another extraordinary week. I visited Benton Park School again. My colleague David Foley, headteacher, had asked me to come to talk to his leadership team about the future. I visited Methley Primary School again. It's an extraordinary school and the school's inspirational headteacher Tracy Dell's leadership, passion, commitment and hard work has built an outstanding team and the learning environment is simply fantastic. I visited Willow Young Carers with Councillor Jane Dowson, my colleague John Paxton, and Al Berry, a student at Temple Moor High School who represents Leeds on the Youth Parliament. Willow Young Carers is a brilliant project that reaches some of our most special and simply extraordinary young people who care for someone in their family as well as managing their home life, their friends and their school work. I attended the Year 11 Achievement Evening at St Mary's Catholic High School. It was a real honour to be asked by Cath McMahon, headteacher at this highly successful school, to be part of this very special evening and to present the certificates and awards to some fantastic young people. I visited Gledhow Primary School again. This is a popular and successful school and Steve Archer, the headteacher, took me around the school and showed me the improvements they have made since my last visit. I visited Brigshaw High School again. It was great to be able to catch up with Cath Lennon, the headteacher at this wonderful school, and talk about the progress the school has made over the last few years. I also attended the city council's Excellence Awards. I was there to present one of the awards and it was great to spend time with Education Leeds colleagues who had won our Spirit Awards, and had subsequently been nominated for these awards.

During the week I attended the the Guardian Social Enterprise Summit which was sub-titled 'The Key to Big Society? Scaling up social enterprises to deliver public services'. The event comes at a particularly interesting time for public services, who are facing the cuts announced in the comprehensive spending review. The government has also made it clear that they expect social enterprise, volunteering and the Big Society to help fill the gaps. Everyone was talking about ‘savage and horrendous cuts’ to all our budgets to balance the budget deficit the country currently faces. We clearly need to work smarter, better, more closely and be more efficient and effective in everything we do and to think team...

The last ten years have shown that great learning happens in teams: in groups and networks who share ideas about what works; and what doesn't. Great learning develops and grows through co-operation, collaboration, networking and sharing. Great organisations, great schools, great classrooms are about great individuals who operate in and with great teams. AND... you don't need to look elsewhere to see great teams and brilliant leadership. Simply look at the schools I visited last week. Wherever I look there are simply extraordinary colleagues releasing the magic where it really matters. The future is full of opportunities for outstanding colleagues and outstanding teams who are creating outstanding learning places.

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