Friday, 22 May 2015

Ninety new school places created for north Leeds

With the support of headteachers, staff and governing bodies, Leeds City Council has secured an additional 90 reception class places for September 2015 at three schools in north Leeds.

The places are required in order to address a shortage of reception places, which is the result of unprecedented movement into the area of families with children due to start school in September 2015.

In addition to 30 new reception places at Wigton Moor Primary School, which were announced yesterday, the council has, today been able to agree a further 30 new reception places at Highfield Primary School. Thirty new places at Gledhow Primary School were announced earlier this month.

Places can only be allocated in line with the published admissions policy therefore the council’s admissions team will allocate places from the existing waiting lists for these schools. Those parents whose children are being re-offered a place will be notified by letter later next week.

The team is still in discussions with other schools in the area to further address the shortage.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“Further to the expansion at Wigton Moor Primary School announced yesterday, we are pleased that a further 30 reception school places have now been approved at Highfield Primary School.

“This brings the total of additional reception places secured in the area to 90, and we want to thank the headteachers, staff and governors at those three schools for their support in working with us to address this urgent problem. We are continuing to progress negotiations with other local schools and will continue our work to determine a longer term solution for the demand pressures in the area.”

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

West Yorkshire fostering providers unite to find more carers for region's children

Foster care providers from across West Yorkshire are joining forces next month to try to recruit more carers for children who are looked after by local authorities across the region.

There is a shortage of foster carers across West Yorkshire with all five local authorities and independent fostering agencies having few to none approved families left to look after teenagers and/or those with more complex needs. Across the whole of Yorkshire and the Humber a further 720 families are needed.

People from across West Yorkshire who are interested in finding out more about becoming foster carers are invited to come along to an information evening at the first direct arena in Leeds on Monday 8 June between 5pm and 8pm. Those attending will be able to get specialist advice from fostering teams from two West Yorkshire local authorities and 14 Independent Fostering Agencies.

The joint event has been organised as part of Foster Care Fortnight (1st to 14th June) to help people from across the region discover more about fostering and the different options available to them.

Across West Yorkshire there is a particular shortage of foster carers for teenagers, children with disabilities, sibling groups and parent and child fostering, although the event will be suitable for anybody interested in learning more about all types of fostering.

Each provider will have an expert and existing foster carer on hand to discuss what options are available by fostering through them, including what support packages they offer and what allowances and fees they pay.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon executive member responsible for children and families at Leeds City Council said:
“It is in the best interests of the children in local authority care across our region that we work together to find the best foster carers out there. We have arranged this event, at which many of the main foster care providers in West Yorkshire will be represented, so people can have as much choice as possible and can easily see which type of providers suits their needs best.

“Fostering is extremely rewarding but can be very challenging so it is vital that people are able to find out as much as possible about the process and what it is really like to be a foster carer before they take the plunge. This event will be a great opportunity to discover all of the options open to them and make sure they are fully informed and ready for the challenge.”

The foster care providers who will be represented at the event are:
Action For Children
Bradford Council
Cambian Group
Children’s Family Trust
Classic Foster Care
Families Fostering
Foster Care Associates
Fostering Solutions
Leeds City Council
Orange Grove Foster Care
Parallel Parents
Swiss Foster Care
Team Fostering
Tree House Care

Visit or call the dedicated foster care recruitment line on: 0113 2477443 for more information.

Photo caption: Representatives from some of the agencies who will be on hand to provide information at the fostering event at the Leeds first direct arena.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

New city Lord Mayor takes office

Picture caption: The new Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr Judith Chapman will be accompanied during her time in office by husband Alan.

Councillor Judith Chapman has become the city’s 122nd Lord Mayor of Leeds after unanimous support from members of all parties at the council’s annual meeting this week.

Taking over the role from the previous incumbent Cllr David Congreve, Cllr Chapman will be accompanied during her time in office through 2015/2016 by her husband Alan, whom she married in 1977.

Since 2006, Judith has represented the Weetwood ward as a Liberal Democrat city councillor and born in Leeds, was brought up in the Roundhay area. During her time as a councillor, Judith, who currently lives in Chapel Allerton, has previously chaired the adult social care scrutiny board and until this month, the children’s and families scrutiny board

Judith, who has two grown up children Harriet and Ben, taught both in London and at Bedford Field Middle School in Leeds after gaining a Bachelor Education Degree and Diploma of Education at Didsbury College of Education in Manchester, and also previously worked in the family clothing business.

An active member of the Jewish community in Leeds, Judith has a particular interest in mental health and adult social care issues, especially in regard to helping people with learning difficulties. It is for this reason that Judith has chosen the Specialist Autism Services as the charity which she will support during her time in office as Lord Mayor.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Judith Chapman said:

"I feel immensely proud to be given the opportunity to represent our great city as Lord Mayor over the next year.

"As someone who was born and raised in Leeds to have the chance to be Lord Mayor is really unbelievable, and both I and Alan cannot wait to get started and be able to through our engagements, meet so many of the wonderful people who live in the city.

"This year I will be supporting as my chosen charity the Specialist Autism Services, and we are looking forward to raising hopefully lots of money to support the vital work that they do."

Notes to editors:

For more information regarding Specialist Autism Services please see:

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

New leadership arrangements for Leeds City Council

A new leadership team at Leeds City Council takes to the helm today to steer the city forward into what could be a whole new future.

Along with a new leader, there are two new deputy leaders, and two new executive members to help the council achieve its priority goals over the coming years.

At the council's AGM last night Councillor Judith Blake was officially confirmed as leader of the council, along with deputy leaders Cllrs Lucinda Yeadon and James Lewis.

The ruling Labour administration has laid out its priorities for the next couple of years, including creating strong economic growth in a compassionate city by providing opportunities for growth and prosperity for all communities, and equipping the city’s young people with the skills and aspirations to succeed.

Seeking to obtain more local powers from central government and continuing the work already underway to put Leeds on the map nationally and internationally are also high priorities for the new leadership team.

Amendments have been made to the executive board portfolio areas to reflect the administration’s priorities for the coming years and the changes to the membership of the team.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“It is vital that we have a strong team who are committed to doing everything we can to support and protect the people who are in most need of our help – a team which will work hard to help our city to continue to grow and succeed and meet any challenges head-on.

“We will continue the fantastic work which has already begun to put Leeds firmly on the map, both nationally and internationally through events like the Tour De France Grand D├ępart, and the British Art Show 8 later this year, as well as next year’s World Triathlon Series and of course our bid to be the European Capital of Culture 2023.

“However, we also have a very determined focus on working to create jobs and future opportunity, particularly for our young people. In attracting and creating work opportunities we also guarantee that the city itself is strong for the future.

“I intend to build on the exceptional work of my predecessor Cllr Keith Wakefield and am very much looking forward to the challenges of leading such a large, vibrant and diverse city – we have a very bright and exciting future ahead of us.”

The new portfolio holders are:
Executive Member Portfolio
Councillor Judith Blake Leader of council and executive member for economy and culture
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon Deputy leader and executive member for children and families
Councillor James Lewis Deputy leader and executive member for resources and strategy
Councillor Debra CouparExecutive member for communities
Councillor Mark Dobson Executive member for environmental protection and community safety
Councillor Richard Lewis Executive member for regeneration, transport and planning
Councillor Lisa Mulherin Executive member for health, wellbeing and adults
Councillor Mohammed Rafique Executive member for employment, enterprise and opportunity

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713