Saturday, 18 December 2010


I have now left Education Leeds...

'You raised me up, so I could stand on mountains;
You raised me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raised me up: To more than I could be.'

Education Leeds is winding up over the next three months and everyone keeps asking about the legacy we will leave in Leeds. Always remember that it wasn't about Education Leeds, the stars, the quotes and the messages; it was about talented, brilliant, gorgeous and wonderful human beings who believed in the power to change and have changed forever to become the extraordinary people you all are.

I have so many friends and colleagues who will continue to be part of my life and who I promise I will keep in touch with and who knows we may work together again sometime in the future. And finally always remember that if you ever need me you know where I am. You can e-mail me at or just visit my new blog

Keep the faith.
Bye for now!


"Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don’t and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said that it’d be easy, they just promised it would be worth it."

However you look at it 2010 has been another great year with more successes, more surprises, more brilliant stories, more shared adventures and, like a Puccini opera, a really sad ending!.

Together, over the last ten years we have built something wonderful. The journey from cause for concern to cause for celebration has been a long and at times difficult one but just look at what we’ve achieved together. c rooted in shared values, common behaviours and beliefs and a consistently positive and supportive language and culture.

I know that sometimes the journey has been really hard and I want to thank you for your passion, your persistence, your patience and your hard work, for forgiving the mistakes I have made, understanding the things I have overlooked and coping with the pressure and the problems I have often passed your way.

This is the tenth time I have done Christmas in Leeds and my last as Chief Executive of this extraordinary organisation. So finally, I wish you, and those you love and care about, delight and simplicity, foolishness and fantasy and noise, angels and miracles and wonder, and innocence and magic. Have a great time… be happy, keep healthy, stay safe and think of me on the 4th January as you start the next stage of your journey together from good to outstanding. And always remember that the future is what you make it!

Best wishes for the future
Keep the faith!


At lunchtime Dirk Gilleard, David Dickinson and I went to the Education Leeds Fuddle at Adams Court...

It was great to see the new centre which is a great improvement on Elmete and Blenheim and will provide a fantastic base for the new teams that are being developed within the new children's services arrangements. We recognised and celebrated Margaret Dalby's 23 years working in education in Leeds and I presented Margaret with her Spirit award.


After the children from Victoria Primary School had sung all their Christmas carols ysterday colleagues from Merrion House gathered on the tenth floor to say goodbye...

I really wasn't expecting this and many colleagues were wearing black shirts and red ties which used to be my uniform during the early days of Education Leeds. The 'A Team' from communications and executive support all sang a specially composed song for me before David Dickinson and Dirk Gilleard, my two talented deputies did the honours. It was a really sad but gloriously special gathering and my team gave my some more gifts including some red wine, a new and very exclusive briefcase and some silver starfish cufflinks which are lovely.

I gave my last thank you speech and we listened to one of the songs that the children at Hovingham Primary School have made very special for me.

"I can do anything at all,I can climb the highest mountain,
I can feel the ocean calling wild and free.
I can be anything I want,
With this hope to drive me onward,
If I can just believe in me

When the skies are dark and grey,
We still know the sun is shining:
Though it’s out of sight, its light is glowing still.
And as long as I believe,
There is nothing I can’t wish for;
Not a dream that I’m unable to fulfill.

I can do anything at all,I can climb the highest mountain,
I can feel the ocean calling wild and free.
I can be anything I want,
With this hope to drive me onward,
If I can just believe in me

While the world is spinning round,
I can sometimes lose direction
And I know how hard it is to find my way.
But with friends around to care,
There is nothing I can’t handle,
And I’ll face the future treasuring each day.

I can do anything at all,I can climb the highest mountain,
I can feel the ocean calling wild and free.
I can be anything I want,
With this hope to drive me onward,
If I can just believe in me." 

Thank you


We were visited by the choir from Victoria Primary School who sang Christmas carols on the tenth floor at Merrion House...

The children were wonderful and they sang a range of Christmas carols for the Education Leeds team.My personal thanks to Alison Carrick, headteacher, and her talented colleagues for bringing us this little bit of magic as I sadly and finally leave Education Leeds.

Friday, 17 December 2010


I started the day at the Carriageworks with colleagues from our Perfomance Management and Information Team...

The team were having a development session before their Christmas lunch so I wouldn't have seen them unless I went to the Carriageworks. I wanted to thank these fantastic colleagues for everything they have done over the years to develop the information systems and the performance culture that underpins everything we do. I also wanted to take them some chocolate for the last time.

Thursday, 16 December 2010



I am really grateful to everyone who attended my leaving presentation at the Civic Hall at lunchtime today...

My colleague Dirk Gilleard celebrated my unique contribution and the difference I have made here in Leeds and we had contributions from Nigel Richardson, Director of Children's Services, Professor Stephen Parkinson, Chairman of the Board of Education Leeds, Cllr Judith Blake, Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council and Portfolio Holder for Children's Services, Cllr Andrew Carter, Leader of the Conservative Group on Leeds City Council, and Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council. It was wonderful to see so many colleagues and friends from schools, the Council and Education Leeds who have been part of the journey and helped write the story of Education Leeds... and Brian Walker who led the Council when the company was established... and Richard Harker who held the portfolio for six of the ten years... and Paul Rogerson who was Chief Executive of the Council for most of the contract... and Ian Harrison and Parin Bahl, from Capita SCS, who provided advice and support throughout our ten years. We also watched a series of video clips from children, young people, colleagues and friends who wanted to say thank you and goodbye.

I am as always particularly grateful to Steph, Danni and Dee and those colleagues who organised and managed this event for me.


I moved on at attend my last Children's Services Scrutiny Board...

Cllr Dowson was very generous in her comments about what Education Leeds under my leadership has achieved over the last ten years and it was wonderful to receive so many positive comments from the members of Scrutiny Board about the difference we have made here in Leeds.


I had coffee this morning with my colleague Sandie Keene who heads up Adult Services here in Leeds...

It was great to catch up with Sandie at the end of my time here in Leeds and reflect on the journey Education Leeds has made from cause for concern to cause for celebration.