Thursday, 14 February 2008
I am never going to travel with KLM again. The flight was delayed but getting information was impossible and when we eventually mnaged to take off we were about an hour late and having misssed the connection on the way out it wasn't looking good. However, we made it to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and again no information and more delays but we got on the plane and we were headed back to Leeds Bradford.
We were over Leeds when the pilot told us that visibility was down to 300 metres and it looked unlikely that we would be able to land. A few moments later visibility was down to 100 metres and we were going to have to land in Manchester... but no Manchester was too busy so we were redirected to Durham Tees Valley Airport where everything was closed but at least we were on the ground. Half an hour later we were bundled into coaches and we travelled down the A1 back to Leeds Bradford to collect my car. I took Richard home and eventually got home after a journey, that should have taken four hours, lasting eight hours.
I am never going to travel with KLM again.
Our two hosts, John Ellard and Jonathan Emerson from ICG, were wonderful and looked after us over the three incredible days which allowed Cllr Richard Harker and I the opportunity to visit this beautiful city, to learn a great deal, to visit some amazing schools, to renew some friendships and make some new ones.
I look forward to my next visit.
This is a unique place: it caters for children aged one to eleven and their philosophy is based on the outdoors, on sustainability and learning through structured play. Eva-Lotta Kastelholm, the Principal, met us and showed us around her incredible school; we watched a teacher work with some children developing their understanding of area and shape using an Activeboard, we watched children doing handicraft; woodwork and textiles and we explored the outside!. The children spend around 80% of their time outside and they even have sleeping sheds with little sleeping bags for the children. They are also into recycling in a big way!
You can find out more about this amazing little school by visiting their website at http://www.edu.sollentuna.se/tgl/ sadly it's only in Swedish!
Cllr Richard Harker and I went to Stockholm City Hall to meet Lotta Edholm, Leader of the Education Committee in Stockholm and Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the City Council, and Hakan Edman, Head of Compulsory Education in Stockholm. It was a great meeting in a staggeringly beautiful building.
We agreed to further develop the relationship between Stockholm and Leeds in the following ways:
- develop a proposal for a small and focused EU funded project linking schools, teachers and students using ICT;
- develop a small shared leadership project building on our 'brilliant learning, brilliant leadership' project;
- develop school links between schools in Stockholm and Leeds;
- develop a small teacher exchange programme.
We are also looking to build a relationship with Helsinki to learn from the best of Finnish educational practice. If anyone out there is interested in these projects please let me know.
Lotta gave Richard and I a beautiful book about the Stockholm City Hall. It will be a fantastic reminder of a wonderful three days in this beautiful city with some fabtastic people.
Tuesday, 12 February 2008
The Stockholm Inspirational Leadership Seminar was at Norra Latin, in central Stocholm, and I talked to colleagues from across Stockholm. We then drove to Sollentuna to have lunch with Maria Stockhaus, Leader of their Education Committee, and Camilla Wallstrom, their Director of Education. We then drove to their municipal centre to deliver the Inspirational Leadership Seminar in their fantastic new conference facility where they also hold their council meetings.
There is so much we can learn from each other, to help us both build brilliant provision consistently across our two great cities. Camilla gave me a copy of the 'lonely planet' city guide to Stockholm as a thank you and to encourage me to come back some time to explore their beautiful city!
The focus is on the Education Leeds story and how through strong, passionate and disciplined leadership we have changed the educational landscape. How through high expectations, a relentless drive for excellence and a culture that is about openness, honesty, trust and empowerment we have achieved magic!
I am doing my affirmations and visualisations and I'll let you know how it goes.
Monday, 11 February 2008
Sadly KLM had a problem with the plane and we were stuck at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport for three hours and finally arrived in Stockholm at 2.30! Still we managed to visit Nya Elementar School in Bromma; a brilliant compulsory school on the western edge of Stockholm. It is a school with 750 children aged between 6 and 16 and is the only secondary school to have won the Stockholm Quality Award twice. The school is divided into three sections:
- Pre-school to Year 5;
- Year 6 to Year 9; and
- Units for children wuith learning difficulties and special needs.
It was a brilliant start to our visit.
Sunday, 10 February 2008
"Chris, I just wanted to highlight the event I attended at Wortley High School yesterday evening as an example of the good work the school is doing to engage Year 7 pupils and their parents. I was invited to attend their Year 7 Art Exhibition which was used to showcase the work that Year 7 have produced as part of the Year 7 project based curriculum that has been developed at Wortley. It was a really wonderful opportunity for parents to engage with the school and was very well attended. It was really great to see the impact the project work has had in improving pupil motivation and engagement with the secondary school curriculum and I felt sure you'd want to know about the good things that are happening at Wortley.
Best wishes Maxine"
It is wonderful to hear about areas where we are doing brilliant things.