Thursday, 2 December 2010


The DfE have increased expectations of all of us and have continued to raise the bar...

The White Paper sets us all more challenges and asks us to account for what we are doing around failing schools and disadvantaged groups. OfSTED have also rasied the bar with Christine Gilbert's Annual Report establishing good as the new baseline for everything we do. Increasing numbers of schools find themselves below the new floor targets and in a category... more notices to improve and more schools in special measures. 'The Importance of Teaching' White Paper restates the role of local authorities as the champion and advocate for the child and their parents and carers and as the commissioner of services with outtstanding schools at the heart of school improvement, system leadership and innovation and change. It also ratchetes up the game with more Academies and Free Schools at the heart of a new and exciting learning landscape.

We also face a series of challenges because of three aspects of the rapidly changing world we all inhabit... abundance, automation and Asia requires us to look carefully at the skills we all need in this new conceptual age. Dan Pink in his book 'A Whole New Mind' suggests that we need to focus on the following six key skills... design, story, empathy, symphony and play. We also need to focus on the golden threads and together build a cooperative and collaborative critical mass of understanding and teamwork here in Leeds. And we need to be clear about what makes brilliant...
  • shared vision, values and beliefs;
  • strong, passionate leadership;
  • a culture of high expectations, celebration of achievement and high self-esteem;
  • inspiring teaching in brilliant learning environments;
  • assessment for learning and the powerful use of data and information;
  • a strong outcomes focus to deliver happy, healthy, safe and successful;
  • a coaching and mentoring culture; and last but not least
  • intelligent accountability.
We must also learn to listen... to parents and carers, to communities and to faith groups, to businesses and to our colleagues in further and higher education... but most importantly we must learn to listen to our children and young people.

1 comment:

BigGeoff said...

Yes, we must all learn to listen so that everyone with a legitimate interest is actually heard.
Far too often I come across people whose ears are open but whose minds are closed. Listening really requires a willingness to accept that my current position may need to be amended/changed. For me, this is a demonstration of one of the key attributes of really effective leaders - humility. Sometimes "the professionals" do not know best, sometimes they risk treating everyone as a generic parent or typical student, rather than recognising the individual with their individual circumstances and needs.
If I couold make just one plea, it would be for everyone involved in our systems and processes to really listen - and that includes parents as well!