Ruth Baldwin and Sonia Sharp worked with me at Education Leeds in the early days when the going was really tough. Ruth led on school improvement and Sonia led on special education needs but more importantly together as a team we changed expectations, created a culture of excellence and developed, with the headteachers, a new and powerful educational paradigm in Leeds. Ruth went on to become Director of Children's Services in Oldham, and then worked on the Manchester Challenge and for the National College of School Leaders and the Association of Directors of Children's Services. Sonia went on to become Director of Children's Services in Rotherham and then moved to Sheffield where she is now the Director of Children's Services.
It was wonderful to spend some time and catch up with these two incredible colleagues whose enthusiasm, passion and commitment transformed standards and outcomes in Leeds.