Saturday, 7 May 2016
LUNCH WITH MY FRIEND RUTH!
I had lunch yesterday with an old friend. Ruth Baldwin was one of the extraordinary, unique and fabulous individuals who made such a difference as part of the Education Leeds team over the ten years this fantastic experiment lasted and it was wonderful to see her again.
Over lunch Ruth and I discussed the many, many ordinary, yet extraordinary, colleagues who were part of the story that was Education Leeds... far too many to mention them all but Ruth, who was one of the first Deputy Chief Executives we appointed, reminded me how, over the years she spent with the company, education in Leeds developed and how we laid the foundations for the standards revolution we saw where GCSE results improve from 39% to over 80% of young people in Leeds achieving five good GCSEs. And more importantly, we built a curriculum offer where equalities, health, sport and the arts thrived and flourished and every child mattered. We talked about so many of the world class elements we developed together: the amazing 'Healthy Schools' work, the innovative and creative 'Arts Forms' work, the incredible 'Playing for Success' work , the extraordinary 'Stephen Lawrence Education Standard' work, the unique 'Gypsy Roma Traveller' work where we established the first GRT History Month and the breathtaking 'Inclusion Chartermark' work on equalities and entitlement. We also transformed the learning environment in so many schools bringing over £300 million of investment and building 29 new schools and transforming countless others.
Great times... some of the best and some simply extraordinary people. I am really blessed to have a friend like Ruth and I am always impressed at her energy, enthusiasm and passion, and just spending time with her over lunch reminded me why Education Leeds became a 'Times 100' best company! We both agreed that they were some of the best years of our lives and looking back on everything we achieved during those wonderful years in Leeds, we also agreed that the most important things are still your family, your faith and your friends.