Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Primary school places to be expanded from September 2010

The expansion of 14 Leeds primary schools has been agreed to help provide around 300 extra places from September 2010.

The decision was made by Leeds City Council’s executive board today (Wednesday) to accommodate an unexpected rise in demand for primary school reception education in certain parts of the city.

Approximately 300 additional primary places are needed from September 2010 mainly as a result of rising birth rates and migration to Leeds from both home and abroad.

The expansion of the 14 schools will provide 260 places while a further 65 places have previously been provided at five other primary schools* through Education Leeds’ annual admissions consultation.

Education Leeds has worked closely with a number of primary schools to address the need for additional demand. Although there are around 6,000 surplus primary school places available across the city, they are mainly in higher year groups or not in the areas where they are needed.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“The council has a responsibility to offer education to every child in the city and we intend to ensure there are local places to meet local needs. Across the city there are 6,000 additional primary places available - but they are not necessarily where the demand is.

“We have worked closely with all 14 schools to ensure these expansions are feasible and only have a positive impact on each school.”

Chris Edwards chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“With an increased demand for places next year prompted by migration to the city, high birth rates and a move to public education by children from private education, we have had to work quickly to ensure every child who might need a primary school place has one close to where they live.

“These additional places will mean that the high standard of education in the 14 schools affected will be available to even more children.

“We are now developing a long-term plan to ensure that if the trends continue in the future we are prepared for every eventuality.”

The primary schools which will be expanded from September 2010 are:
Victoria - 50 to 60 places; Greenmount - 45 to 60; Swarcliffe - 30 to 45; New Bewerley - 45 to 60; Hugh Gaitskell - 75 to 90; Beeston - 60 to 90; Ireland Wood - 30 to 60; Iveson - 30 to 45; Highfield - 45 to 60; Thorner - 20 to 30; Mill Field - 45 to 60; Ebor Gardens - 30 to 60; Blenheim - 30 to 60; Ingram Road - 30 to 45

Work has started to ensure the 14 schools have the appropriate accommodation and continue to be successful and improving schools. Education Leeds will arrange for informal discussions between schools and local councillors to establish where further places could be introduced from 2011/12 onwards.

Further information on the proposals and the consultation is available at www.educationleeds.co.uk/admissions.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

*The five primary schools which already have the capacity for an additional 65 places are: Brownhill, Whitkirk, Mill Field, Moor Allerton and Calverley Church of England.


For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577
Email: jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk

Primary school education to be boosted in Richmond Hill

Richmond Hill Primary School is to be expanded and Mount St Mary’s Catholic Primary School to close as part of improvements to education provision in the Richmond Hill area.

The decision by Leeds City Council’s executive board today (Wednesday) will mean Mount St Mary’s will close in August 2010 with the expanded Richmond Hill school expected to open in 2012.

The new school buildings will be part of the city’s Primary Capital Programme which will see £100m invested in primary schools over the next 14 years. It will also include specialist provision for up to 16 children with special educational needs and facilities for the local community to use.

Mount St Mary’s is currently housed in temporary accommodation and the new school buildings at Richmond Hill will give the children access to modern, state-of-the-art learning facilities which Education Leeds is committed to providing across the city.

The demand for Catholic primary school places has also fallen which has resulted in the Catholic Diocese stating it no longer needs the site to provide Catholic education.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
“This was not an easy decision to make. We only ever decide to close a school when it is absolutely necessary and only after we have considered every other possible option.

“This decision will mean that young people and the wider local community will benefit from world-class facilities and I am sure the results, outcomes and experiences of everyone who uses it will justify this decision.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“This decision highlights the complexities of providing primary school education in the city. On one hand we are providing additional places at Richmond Hill Primary School to meet demand and on the other we have to close a school because there is no longer the need for it.

“At Richmond Hill primary we now have the opportunity to provide brand new, state-of-the-art learning facilities in this part of Leeds which will benefit the whole community.”

Catholic primary school places are still available in the area at nearby St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577
Email: jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk

Girl, 14, from Wetherby given Asbo for drunken behaviour

A 14 year old girl from Wetherby has been given an Asbo to control her drunken and violent behaviour.

Catherine Emery is only the second person and the first female in the rural West Yorkshire market town to receive an Asbo.

Evidence presented at Leeds Magistrates Court this week by Leeds City Council outlined a consistent pattern of heavy alcohol consumption, with abusive, threatening and violent behaviour while under the influence.

The terms of the two-year Asbo prohibit her from:
• Causing harassment, alarm and distress in the Leeds City Council area.
• Abusing, insulting, harassing, threatening violence or using violence to anyone in the Leeds City Council area.
• Possessing or drinking alcohol in public in the Leeds City Council area.
• Purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol or asking others to purchase alcohol on her behalf.
• Entering certain areas in Wetherby, including Morrison’s supermarket and the George and Dragon public house.
• Contacting directly or indirectly certain named individuals.
• Associating with certain named individuals.

Leeds City Council’s anti-social behaviour unit pressed for an Asbo on Catherine Emery as a consequence of her failure to improve her behaviour despite a range of earlier interventions.

Councillor Les Carter, executive board member responsible for community safety and chair of Safer Leeds said:
“It is always sad to see young people going off the rails like this, but we need to protect everyone else from their unacceptable behaviour.

“I hope that this Asbo will help her realise how serious her situation is, and finally turn her life around.”

Notes:
• Safer Leeds is the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) dedicated to tacking drugs and crime in the city. It is a partnership organisation between a number of local agencies including Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police, NHS Leeds, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and West Yorkshire Police Authority.

/ENDS

For further information contact:
John Donegan
(0113) 247 4450 (mon-wed am) (0113) 395 1510 (wed pm-fri)
john.donegan@leeds.gov.uk

Council’s thanks to team that saved £millions

Council leaders in Leeds today (Wednesday 22 July 2009) voiced their thanks to a team responsible for saving millions of pounds of public money.

Finance experts in the council’s small treasury management team made savings of £6.6m in the year 2008/2009. That was £5.4m more than the council’s original target.

Over the last three years, savings generated by the team have been in excess of £40m. These savings have been used to support vital front-line services.

Most of the savings were made through shrewd restructuring of the long term debt portfolio, and prudent investment.

A sizeable proportion of the council’s capital spending is financed through long-term borrowing, so a good understanding of money markets is vital.

A report on the Leeds City Council’s treasury management for the year 2008/2009 was tabled for consideration by members of the council’s executive board at today’s meeting.

Councillor Richard Brett, leader of Leeds City Council, and executive board member responsible for finance said:
“Our treasury team provide a vital, but often overlooked role in providing value for council taxpayers.

“Today’s report shows that thanks to this team, we have been able to keep our finances on an even keel throughout the current turmoil in the money markets.”

The team will continue to monitor world and domestic financial markets, and take advantage of any opportunities that arise.
ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
John Donegan, Leeds City Council Press Office (0113) 247 4450
email John.Donegan@leeds.gov.uk

Council bids for new powers to tackle obstructive parking

Council leaders in Leeds today (Wednesday 22 July 2009) approved a bid to give councils new powers to tackle obstructive parking.

The bid is in response to a government invitation to local authorities to suggest areas where changes in legislation or other government action could make a real difference to people’s quality of life. The proposals would be made under the Sustainable Communities Act 2008.

Badly parked cars are a cause of considerable nuisance and inconvenience to residents, visitors and businesses every year. Directly or indirectly, they are responsible for many of the customer complaints received by the council. A common situation is one where refuse collection vehicles are prevented from driving down streets and reaching people’s houses.

Currently, the police are responsible for taking action against badly parked vehicles. However, dealing with this sort of offence is often not considered a police priority.

The idea for the bid emerged from widespread consultations held with community groups, town and parish councils around Leeds earlier this year.

Councillor Richard Brett, leader of Leeds City Council, and executive board member responsible for central and corporate functions said:
“During our consultations, we received a number of suggestions for different powers we might seek.

“In many cases, we or the government already have the necessary powers. In other cases, the suggestions were well-intentioned but impractical.

“However, a number of different respondents raised the idea of doing more about problem parking, and we think this is something we could really work with.

“Amending the law to allow civil enforcement officers to issue Penalty Charge Notices for obstructive parking in the same way they enforce yellow lines could make a real difference to communities around Leeds, as well as reduce the number requests directed to the police.”

The suggested change will now be submitted to the Local Government Association, which will make a final selection from the proposals of local authorities around the country for those which will be taken further by the government.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
John Donegan, Leeds City Council Press Office (0113) 247 4450
email John.Donegan@leeds.gov.uk

MVV Umwelt GmbH withdraws from Leeds City Council's Residual Waste Treatment project

Leeds City Council's Residual Waste Treatment project announced in May of this year that four bidders had been successful in progressing to the next stage of the procurement. These were:

• Aire Valley Environmental;
• MVV Umwelt GmbH;
• Veolia ES;
• United Utilities.

One of these bidders, MVV Umwelt GmbH, (MVV) has decided to withdraw from the Leeds project. MVV has recently been successful in reaching the final stages of a number of residual waste treatment projects. Following a detailed review, MVV concluded that withdrawing from the Leeds project would allow it to concentrate on projects where its chances of success were greatest and which most closely fitted the business model it is progressing. MVV was proposing an Energy from Waste solution in its outline bid.

Leeds City Council will be continuing the procurement with the three other bidders, who are continuing to develop proposals that provide a range of technology solutions and sites. The council does not anticipate that MVV's decision to withdraw will have any adverse impact upon the project.

Details of the shortlisted bidders' proposals can be found by following the link below:
http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?ID=35435

For further media information, please contact;
Laura Ferris, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335
Email: laura.ferris@leeds.gov.uk