New Director Says He Wants North Yorkshire To be Best Place For Kids To Grow Up
11:57am 10th April 2013
North Yorkshire’s new director of children’s services says he has high ambition to make the county one of the very best places for children and young people to grow up in.
Pete Dwyer, who comes to North Yorkshire County Council after six years as director of children’s services for the City of York, says he wants to create a common quest to transform children’s lives harnessing the creativity and expertise of all who work in frontlines services across the public, private and voluntary sector, statutory and non-statutory.
Education, he says, “continues to be our greatest liberator”. He is determined to provide a “renewed and unwavering focus” on improving outcomes for all children, narrowing gaps in educational attainment, while continuing to stretch the most able.
He also says he believes we should judge the county’s progress on the quality of life and outcomes achieved by children with disabilities as well as those in the care system. He said: “Listening to those young people and to their parents will be an important part of that assessment.”
Current national educational reforms as well as the climate of financial stringency has provided, he says are both a challenge and an opportunity for the local authority to do things differently and potentially to do them better.
Local authorities, he says, should retain the key role in overseeing the whole system and on occasions the power to intervene when, for example, schools are not delivering. But he also believes that the county council should be creative and flexible in engaging good and outstanding practitioners to improve outcomes across the county. He believes there is much to welcome in the principles underpinning the national reform programme and that the “holy grail of improvement with less” is not impossible.
He said: “Releasing the leadership potential of those engaged in frontline delivery, whether clinicians or head-teachers, has huge attractions. Whilst the historic picture painted of controlling bureaucratic local authorities stifling and restraining the innovation of others has been overstated, greater engagement with partners is also, in my experience, already delivering results.”
Being a director of children’s services, he added “is one of, if not the best role in local government. I continue to be excited and passionate about the potential that effective, wider leadership can have in unlocking children’s potential and transforming their futures and those of their families.”
Prior to his directorship in York, Pete Dwyer spent 18 years working for Leeds City Council, he says. He adds that North Yorkshire, one of the largest counties in England, had attracted him because of its “strong reputation with many talented and committed staff”. It also presents him, he says, with opportunities to test and develop outstanding leadership through a wider range of partnerships across a wider geographical area.
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