Monday, 29 November 2010


Only three weeks left now and last week flew by because I was so busy...

I started the week at the Education Leeds leadership forum. This will be the last occasion where I spend time with this group of colleagues who were looking at the developing structure within the new children's services arrangements. I visited Carr Manor High School again. It was great to sit and talk to Simon Flowers, the school's inspirational headteacher, about the journey they have been on from potential closure in split site and unloved accommodation to an oversubscribed, increasingly successful and innovative school occupying a fantastic PFI building which was opened by Tony Blair. I had breakfast with headteacher colleagues from the Pudsey and the West families of schools at Pudsey Grangefield School. These headteachers are great colleagues doing some amazing work with children and families. I visited Swallow Hill Community College. I hadn't visited the school for over a year and it was great to see Gill Knutsson, acting headteacher, again. I was impressed by the calm and very purposeful atmosphere around the school and the building which is bright, light and a wonderful environment for learning. I visited St Bartholomew's Church of England Primary School again. Pauline Gavin and her team don't do things by halves at St Barts. It is a creative and inspiring place working at the heart of its community to release the magic and the WOW factor. I visited Castleton Primary School where Judith Norfolk and her team are doing something wonderful at this little oasis of brilliant primary practice tucked away at the heart of West Leeds. I attended 'Celebrating 10 Years of Success'; the Leeds Mentoring annual awards ceremony at the Civic Hall. This year there have once again been over 4000 mentoring partnerships here in Leeds and the evening provided us with another wonderful opportunity to listen to young people's stories of success encouraged and supported by brilliant mentors. I visited the South Leeds Academy again to see my colleague Colin Bell. I am particularly grateful to Colin and his colleagues at the South Leeds Academy who have achieved something quite remarkable over the last five years. I attended the awards evening at Corpus Christ Catholic College. It was a real honour to be asked by Mike Woods, headteacher at this highly successful school, to be part of this very special evening where George Mudie MP presented the awards. Sadly there was a clash and I missed the Peace Poetry Celebration at the Civic Hall, but it is great to see that the Peace Poetry competition continues to excite schools and produce some wonderful poetry. I went on BBC Radio Leeds to talk about the report produced by Barnardos on the consequences of exclusions. It was great to be able to talk about the impressive track record we have here in Leeds with reducing exclusions and more importantly wherever possible finding alternatives to exclusion. I visited Temple Moor High School Science College again. It was wonderful to see the brilliant new building again and to walk around the school with Martin Fleetwood, the headteacher, who has a wonderful rapport and relationship with his students. I visited Roundhay St John's Church of England Primary School which is a wonderful little school where Barbara Custance, acting headteacher, Libby Harrison, acting deputy headteacher, and their colleagues are clearly doing great things. I finished the week at Woodkirk High Specialist Science School. My colleague Jonathan White, headteacher at Woodkirk High Specialist Science School, had invited me to present the certificates and awards at their awards ceremony. It was wonderful to be part of this very special evening and to present the certificates and awards to some fantastic young people.

Wherever I go colleagues are talking about the future and how we can shape it. We need to remember that what we have achieved together in Education Leeds, in secondary schools like Carr Manor, Swallow Hill, South Leeds Academy, Corpus Christi, Temple Moor and Woodkirk and in primary schools like St Bartholomew's, Castleton and Roundhay St John's is critically about people, teamwork, attitude and ownership and engagement. We also know that whatever comes our way success depends on passion, commitment, determination and sheer hard work... which are the keys to releasing the magic in all our colleagues and all our children and young people.

No comments: