Thursday, 10 September 2009

£60m BSF investment creates Leeds’ latest state-of-the-art schools

Leeds’ ongoing investment in education has continued with two £60m schools officially opening their doors.

The new secondary schools - Allerton Grange in Moortown and Swallow Hill Community College in Armley - have been built as part of the first wave of the city’s £260m Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project.

Nearly 3,000 young people have started the term in the cutting-edge new schools in west and north east Leeds - taking the total number of young people learning in BSF schools in Leeds to over 10,000.

The schools - delivered through the Leeds Local Education Partnership (LEP) consisting of Education Leeds, Leeds City Council and the Interserve-led consortium Environments 4 Learning - signal a new era of learning with brighter, more open and colourful buildings which are radically different from traditional schools of the past.

The new buildings offer opportunities for a wider range of teaching and learning experiences with different types of learning spaces complemented by the latest mobile technology to allow anytime, anywhere learning. The design of the schools allow different teaching and learning techniques to be used with professional, industry standard facilities allowing young people to ‘live’ the subjects as they learn.

Allerton Grange, which can accommodate up to 1,500 young people up to the age of 18, is designed to be focal point at the heart of the local community. As well as more conventional classrooms it has numerous ‘break out’ spaces which have been tailored to meet the needs of young people and individual subjects - maths rooms have tiered seating, English has a media suite and science a fully equipped demonstration area.

The school has areas specifically designed for vocational studies, such as engineering and textiles, as well as a large ‘technology barn’ complete with the latest ICT equipment.

Swallow Hill Community College brings together two successful school communities – Wortley High School and West Leeds High School – and is one of the most modern, flexible and advanced schools in the country.

The school buildings are built around a central piazza which has an outdoor stage and seating for performances and lessons - and can be used by both the school and the local community.

There are flexible spaces which can be adapted to meet the demands of vocational learning and flexible learning spaces - which include innovative features such as breakout spaces and adjustable sized classrooms - to ensure that lessons can be personalised to meet the needs and demands of every young person.

Both schools’ flexible spaces will be supported by state-of-the-art mobile computing - including Sony PSPs, Nintendo DS Lites - to help provide every young person with the skills needed for learning, work and life after school.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member responsible for learning, said:
“These new schools represent everything that is great about education in Leeds. They include the best possible facilities and ICT equipment which, combined with modern design and committed teaching staff, will provide a huge boost to learning in both parts of the city.

“We are committed to providing 21st century learning environments for all to ensure our young people get the skills, knowledge and experience for the best possible start to their adult lives.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“These two brilliant schools continue Education Leeds and Leeds City Council’s transformation of learning in the city. There are already some fantastic facilities in Leeds but these new schools have set a new standard, not just locally but nationally too.

“The Leeds BSF partnership has been instrumental in this success and has helped to create two brilliant learning places where every young person can be happy, healthy, safe and successful.”

Bob Vince, Interserve’s director of Education and chair of the Leeds LEP, said:
“We’re proud of what the partnership has achieved in delivering these new schools. Interserve is focused on creating the best facilities for the children of Leeds, and it’s the successful working relationships we have forged with Education Leeds, the City Council and Partnerships for Schools that have made this possible.”

Tim Byles, CEO of Partnerships for Schools, the government agency responsible for delivering BSF nationwide, said:
“There are now nearly 110,000 pupils benefiting from BSF investment in 121 schools across England, and I am delighted that even more young people in Leeds are now looking forward to inspirational new and refurbished learning environments which will help them unlock their potential and enjoy better and brighter futures.

“Swallow Hill Community College and Allerton Grange offer state-of-the-art ICT equipment, enviable sports and cultural facilities and bright, welcoming spaces that will be a joy to learn and to teach in. I look forward to seeing the positive difference it makes to all those who come through their doors.”

Leeds BSF is transforming the city’s secondary schools to create some of the most advanced learning environments in the country.

New schools which opened in September 2008 included Allerton High School in Alwoodley, Rodillian School in Lofthouse and Pudsey Grangefield School.

Schools which were refurbished through the BSF programme last year included Temple Moor High School Specialist Science College in Templenewsam which benefited from a new science block, technology block, additional sports facilities and high care dependency facilities complete with hydrotherapy pool. Cockburn College of Arts in Beeston was also refurbished to include a new design technology block, a number of new art rooms and a refurbished theatre.

The innovative e-learning facilities and a personalised professional development programme for staff are being provided by ICT experts RM Education to enhance teaching and learning.

Other schools which are set to receive a wholesale refurbishment as part of the programme include Crawshaw, Farnley Park, Priesthorpe, Corpus Christi Catholic College, Mount St Mary's Catholic High and Parklands Girls’ High School.

The Leeds BSF programme will also deliver a new build school to replace the current buildings at the new Leeds West Academy in Bramley.


For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577

Leeds public called upon to ‘be the difference’

Issued by the Children's Workforce Development Council


Campaign to recruit children’s social workers is launched

A high profile campaign gets underway in Leeds today to recruit high calibre social workers for vulnerable children and families. Leeds is one of the first regions to be specifically targeted by the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC) campaign to attract and recruit more people to work in the social work profession.

The drive is part of the Government’s wider social work reform programme being delivered by CWDC to widen entry routes into the profession, enhance support for practitioners and encourage former social workers back into the profession.

Called ‘Be the difference’, the campaign - which breaks on national TV tonight - is inspired by real life stories to illustrate how social workers apply their training, skills and expertise to everyday objects to make major breakthroughs with children and families.

CWDC Chairman Sir Paul Ennals said:
“If we want a world-class social work profession, we need to attract the brightest, best and most committed people to the profession. Social workers are unsung heroes and do a difficult job, often in extremely challenging circumstances – but it is a great profession to join. This recruitment campaign aims to attract high quality candidates from wide-ranging backgrounds to think about a career in social work.”

The campaign is phase two of the new social worker recruitment campaign launched two weeks ago by Secretary of State for Children, Ed Balls. The campaign follows on from the Social Work Transformation Fund for children’s social work announced by Government in May 2009, which includes:

• Sponsoring 200 university places from September 2009
• Extending the Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSW) pilot to all new children and families' social workers joining statutory and voluntary services from this September
• Funding a practice-based Masters in social work to start in early 2011 so that social workers can continue to develop further their knowledge, skills and expertise
• Introducing an Advanced Social Work Professional Status programme to encourage excellent and experienced social workers to stay in front line roles
• Delivering coaching and development for frontline social worker managers to boost leadership and management skills

‘Be the difference’ follows the successful ‘Help Give Them a Voice’ campaign in which celebrities gave their voice to the vulnerable children and adults who need the support of social workers every day. Since the launch of this campaign more than 7,000 people have expressed an interest in becoming social workers.

Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls, said:
“I want us to reach out to the public in a way that captures their imagination and challenges their preconceptions, encouraging people from all walks of life to give serious consideration to a social work career and I believe the advertising campaign will help achieve this.

“The recruitment campaign is just one aspect of our work to transform the profession; we have invested £109 million in the workforce over the next two years. I want social work to be a high-quality, self-confident profession, understood by the public and deservedly valued by them for the crucial job social workers do, often under really tough circumstances.

“If we’re to achieve this there’s a high priority on giving social workers the training and support they need, and this requires action in a number of different areas. For example, we have agreed to implement the advice of the Social Work Task Force on how to improve the technology social workers use.

“It is also clear that social workers need better training and support - especially those who are new to the job - which is why I have rolled out the Newly Qualified Social Worker programme. On recruitment, I have introduced a graduate sponsorship programme, a new on-the-job training route and a scheme to help former social workers return to the profession. ”

Leeds City Council is already taking part in five pilots including the Newly Qualified Social Worker (NQSW) programme and the graduate recruitment scheme to encourage high calibre graduates from other disciplines to the social work profession.

Jackie Wilson, Chief Officer for Children and Young People's Social Care at Leeds City Council said:
“Social work is challenging, but it is also a fantastic and rewarding way to change children’s lives for the better. Having been a social worker myself, I still meet and hear from people I worked with years ago.

It’s always a joy to see the positive long-term difference that social work has made, especially when you know that without it the person you worked with could have ended up on a very different path.

For the last five years I’ve worked in various leadership roles across children’s services. I felt compelled to come back to my social care roots because I really feel that it is where I can make the biggest difference to those vulnerable children and young people who need our help the most.”

Anyone interested in a career in social work or would like more information should go to or call 0300 123 1220.

For further information please contact CWDC Press and PR Manager Leigh Dowd on 01133907658, or at

Editor's Notes

This press notice relates to 'England'

About ‘Be the difference’Taking centre-stage in the ‘Be the difference’ campaign are seemingly ordinary household items including a kettle and bouncy ball, illustrating how social workers apply their training, skills and expertise to everyday objects to make major breakthroughs with their clients.

The TV campaign was directed by iconic portrait photographer Charlie Crane with print creatives shot by renowned still life photographer Jenny Van Sommers. Actors Imelda Staunton and Ken Stott are amongst those lending their voice to the campaign.

About CWDC

The Children’s Workforce Development Council leads change so that the thousands of people working with children and young people across England are able to do the best job they possibly can. We want England’s children and young people’s workforce to be respected by peers and valued for the positive difference it makes to children, young people and their families. We advise and work in partnership with lots of different organisations and people who all want the lives of all children and young people to be healthy, happy and fulfilling.

About the social work reform programme
CWDC’s social work programme is a comprehensive three-year programme of activity that will drive and support improvements in the way social workers are recruited, trained and supported to work with children and families in England. CWDC’s programme receives £32m of funding from the DCSF and tackles the significant challenges that face the children and families social work workforce today.

Government funding for children and families’ social workers over the next two years now totals £109m. This includes the £58m Social Work Transformation Fund for children’s social work announced in May 2009.

The key reform programme strands are:

• Newly qualified social worker pilot
The newly qualified social worker programme supports social workers in their first year of employment. It enables employers to provide tailored induction and high quality supervision and training against a set of outcome statements.

• Early professional development
This programme follows on from NQSW and supports children’s social workers in years two and three of their first job.

• Advanced social work professional status
This status will recognise those reaching continuous excellence in children’s social work.

• Graduate recruitment
Encouraging high calibre graduates from other disciplines to the social work profession.

• Return to social work
A pilot programme to encourage and support people to return to enter the social work profession.

• Marketing campaign
A national advertising campaign to educate and challenge perceptions of social work.

• Social work degree placements
Working in partnership with Skills for Care and GSCC to support employers in providing high quality placements for trainee social workers.

• Piloting innovative ways to tackle recruitment and retention issues
Working with local authorities in the West Midlands and in West London to explore ways of addressing recruitment and retention challenges.

• Piloting ways of reshaping teams
Creating new ways of working, so that social workers can spend more time with children and families.

• Developing the coaching and supervision skills of first-line managers
A programme of support for first-line managers to build confidence and develop the skills to support teams.

• Peer support programme
For local authority middle managers to share best practice and build confidence in leading and managing change.

• Developing a practice-based master’s degree
Working closely with national partners to develop an employer-based programme at a master’s level. This aims to provide social workers with complex cases, with the appropriate level of education, knowledge and skills.

• Career framework
Working with employers and key stakeholders to develop a career framework for social workers working with children and families in England.

• An ‘on the job’ training route to qualifying as a social worker
To develop an initial training programme for those who already work with children to train to become a social worker.

Notes End

Fun-filled summer for Burmantofts and Richmond Hill youths

Young people from across Burmantofts, Richmond Hill and Lincoln Green have been making the most of the summer holidays with a fun-packed activity schedule courtesy of Leeds Youth Services.

Around 150 young people benefited from a vast array of activities and trips – many of them free of charge - to entertain and engage, and steer them away from getting into trouble.

As well as the regular youth groups, which meet several times a week, the young people also attended organised activities which were held locally as well as trips away to theme parks, the seaside and sports and adventure days.

One young man, Ashley, 16, who regularly attends a youth group at Nowell Mount centre in Burmantofts said:
“I go every Tuesday and Thursday to the Nowells which is great because I can meet up with my mates and we play pool and Xbox and PS3. The staff are good because if you need something they are there but if you don’t they leave you alone. I went on a trip with them to the Dome which was good. If I didn’t go there me and my mates would just be hanging around the streets.”

With the summer now over the fun does not end for the young people of inner-east Leeds, with a packed autumn programme of 28 regular sessions throughout Richmond Hill, Burmantofts and Lincoln Green. With the majority of sessions held in four youth bases; Ebor Gardens Community Centre, Lincoln Green Youth Base, Richmond Hill Community Centre and the Nowell Mount Centre as well as a mobile unit which travels around the area, there is plenty of accessible youth provision for young people throughout the neighbourhoods.

As well as the general youth groups for young people aged between 11 and 19, there are also a number of specialist support groups for young people who are not in employment, education or training, as well as one for young parents and a sexual health advice session, a girls only group and a youth theatre group.

Young people from the Lincoln Green area will also soon be able to a meet up at a new youth cafe which, from October, will be held every Saturday afternoon at the Lincoln Green Youth Base, and will be run by the Domaine Youth Project.

In a bid to further expand the youth provision across the Lincoln Green area a new youth worker will soon be joining the team. They will be dedicated to extending the provision in this area, not just at the youth base but also through street work and the mobile youth club.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive member responsible for youth services said:
“If we want to discourage young people from getting involved in crime and anti-social behaviour and help raise their aspirations, then providing good quality, regular youth groups in the right locations is essential.

“What’s important is the youth work is provided where the young people need it so the fact that we have four centres and a mobile unit covering this area is great.

“The summer activity programme offered this year for Richmond Hill, Burmantofts and Lincoln Green youths was the most comprehensive yet and offered a great variety of things to keep them engaged and entertained.”

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

Grand generosity for future firefighters

Caption: Young Firefighters co-ordinator Stuart Wilson with East Area Panel Member Pauline Wright and board member Andrew Wasike.

Young firefighters from east Leeds have given a warm welcome to a £1,000 donation that will give their base a little heat.

The money from East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL) is going towards a new central heating system at a scheme at Gipton Fire Station that helps youngsters learn a fantastic range of skills.

The Young Firefighters Scheme (YFS) was established in June 2008, when several old workshops at the rear of the Gipton Approach site were converted into a stand alone base for up to 120 young students. All the students are from high schools in east Leeds.

The two year course, comprising of a diverse range of subjects – including community fire safety, casualty extrication and general life skills – combines both practical and academic lessons with successful completion, all resulting in a BTEC Level Two qualification.

East North East Homes Leeds’s East Area Panel, working alongside Gipton Fire Station crew manager Stuart Wilson, agreed to fund the installation of a new central heating system for the classrooms, providing the scheme with a donation of £1,000.

The cheque was presented to the young firefighters by ENEHL board member Pauline Wright and Area Panel member Andrew Wasike.

The scheme has proved extremely successful, with students enjoying the benefits of a practical element to their learning outside of the traditional school environment.

East North East Homes Leeds’s East Area panel member Andrew Wasike said:
"We were very impressed with the young firefighters scheme and hope this £1,000 will help to enable Gipton Fire Station continue their good work with the young people of East Leeds.”

Stuart Wilson, crew manager at Gipton Fire Station and co-ordinator of the Young Firefighters Scheme, said:
“East Leeds Young Firefighters are extremely grateful for the support given by ENEHL.
“The funding has helped our project become a facility for East Leeds to be proud of.
“The building was originally a run down storage garage but with the local support it has been transformed into a stand alone fire station for the young firefighters.

Notes for editors:
East North East Homes Leeds is one of three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) which manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council. It is wholly owned by the council, which retains ownership of housing stock and sets rents.

East North East Homes Leeds manages 19,000 council-owned residential properties in Boston Spa, Burmantofts, Chapel Allerton, Chapeltown, Collingham, Gipton, Halton Moor, Harehills, Linton, Meanwood, Moor Allerton, Moortown, Seacroft, and Wetherby.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937