Saturday, 15 March 2008

Brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous!

I was searching the web and found this quote, only to discover that I had got the quote wrong. It isn't that you are "talented, brillliant, gorgeous and wonderful", it's actually "brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous"...

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Marianne Williamson

I think I prefer my version but I love "we are all meant to shine, as children do."

Friday, 14 March 2008

I then attended a meeting with Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families...

The Secretary of State and Lord Andrew Adonis, Schools Minister, wanted to talk about the progress we are making here in Leeds. We met with Cllr Andrew Carter and Cllr Richard Harker to look at the secondary schools currently below the 'new' floor targets of 30% achieving 5A*-C including GCSE English and mathematics... there are 638 nationally and 13 here in Leeds. The DCSF team were complimentary about the work we are doing, the progress our schools are making and what we have already achieved. They wanted to know that we have the support we need to ensure that every school in Leeds achieves above the 'new' floor targets by 2011.

We have already developed plans for each of these schools and we need to carefully explore the trajectory these schools are on to ensure that we achieve the floor targets before 2011... whatever it takes!
I went on to the Council's Financial Management Team's Away Day at Herd Farm...

I was asked to do a session for the team on 'realising the potential of your team' and it seemed to go very well... remarkably so when you consider they are all accountants! We must be doing something right!
I attended the Richmond Hill Family of Schools meeting this morning...

This is a small family with some fantastic schools and we talked about standards, outcomes, building programmes, EASEL, extended services, 14 - 19 provision and much, much more. The headteachers raised issues around rationalising primary provision in Richmond Hill, supporting migrant worker, assylum seeker and refugee children and challenging behaviour in reception classes. These are some wonderful colleagues working in some incredible challenging contaxts and achieving amazing results.

THe Young Activist Award

We've been asked for help in publicising the Sheila McKechnie Foundation's awards to the groups across Leeds - there's still time for individuals to nominate themselves before the deadline - 28 March 2008...

This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to gain support to develop their campaigning and influencing skills.The Young Activist Award is sponsored by the YMCA and Foyer Federation and supports young campaigners, both individual and in groups, aged 16-24 living anywhere in the UK, who are campaigning on community issues to which they are personally connected. We want to encourage applications from those who have limited experience of campaigning but who have the drive and passion to change something in their community.

Each award winner and winning group will receive a package of support including:
* a comprehensive assessment of their campaign objectives
* advice from a senior campaigner about how to take forward their campaign
* the chance to work through shared challenges with other campaigners
* mentoring sessions reviewing the progress of their campaign.

To apply for this award and to read about last year's award winners, please check out the website at

Thursday, 13 March 2008

I went on to a great little primary school...

Bracken Edge Primary School has just been visited by our friends from OFSTED and given a clean bill of health after 15 months with a 'notice to improve'... it is a brilliant achievement by Julie Harkness, the headteacher, and her colleagues, who are also manging in a constrained site while their new extension is being built. Julie told me that it will be open in five weeks.

It's funny I remember visiting the school when I started here in Leeds and being shocked by the dreadful condition of their village of temporary classrooms. The school has developed and grown with its Space@ facilities and now the wonderful new extension.

Julie and Alan Moore, her chair, showed me around the school and we all talked about the challenges and opportunities facing the school. It was great to see what Julie and the team have achieved, the real enthusiasm amongst Julie's colleagues and to meet some of her fantastic children... one of whom gave me my first Easter card this year. Julie is planning for the next OFSTED to be good and then outstanding!
I started the day early at Carr Manor High School...

I have gone to present Simon Flowers, the headteacher, with the award the PFI building had received at the Leeds Architecture Awards 2007.

It's a great place and the sheer energy and enthusiasm that hits you is impressive. I was there to film some material for our new Education Leeds DVD and even the camera crew were wowed by the place! Simon and his colleagues are doing an amazing job in a challenging and complex context and importantly achieving brilliant outcomes. What makes this school special...
  • strong, disciplined, focused and passionate leadership;
  • clear, shared vision, values and beliefs;
  • a talented, energetic, enthusiastic and creative team;
  • empowered, trusted and disciplined colleagues;
  • stimulating, exciting and engaging work;
  • a powerful, stimulating and interesting learning environmen
  • high shared expectations;
  • strong, dynamic and meaningful relationships;
  • high engagement and involvement of young people.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Last week was a great week...

Viv Buckland and her colleagues did a brilliant job managing 16000 admissions to schools and are continuing to do a brilliant job dealing with the ensuing enquiries from parents and carers. Dirk and I had lunch with colleagues from the personnel team. It was a great opportunity to listen and learn and the session confirmed once again what a talented bunch they are.

I also visited Seacroft Grange Primary School to see Terry Ayres, Chair of Governors and headteacher, Mike O’Grady. It’s a wonderful little school where Mike and his colleagues are releasing a really special magic.

On Friday I spent the day with around 300 colleagues at the Extended Services Conference. We listened to Lord Andrew Mawson, Christine Gilbert HMCI and Maggie Farrah from NCSL. It was a great day thanks to Mark Hopkins, Sally Bavage and colleagues.

The highlight of the week was the Long Service Awards where we celebrated the contribution that 66 of our colleagues from Education Leeds and schools have made to education in the city. It was a great evening thanks to Stephanie, Danielle, Iram, Helen, Claire and Paul, and it was wonderful to be able to thank so many wonderful colleagues for a life of service to children and young people here in Leeds.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Where are the photos?

I am still waiting for colleagues to share the photos from last weeks fantastic Long Service Awards...

I know that they are out there somewhere!

Monday, 10 March 2008


These were the schools who were successful in this years Stan Kenyon Annual School Challenge "On the Move"...

  • Raynville Primary School;
  • Pudsey Primrose Hill Primary School;
  • East SILC John Jamieson;
  • Park Spring Primary School;
  • Greenside Primary School;
  • St Benedict's Catholic Primary School;
  • Ashfield Primary School;
  • Allerton High School.

Next year's challenge is "Too Hot too Handle" which asks schools to design a scheme for their school or home which helps to reduce the adverse effects of climate change. This challenge fits brilliantly with the Leeds Youth Council's priorities. If you are interested and want to get an information pack please contact Linda Banks at