Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Child pedestrian training programme provides excellent results in Leeds

A road safety training scheme for Leeds children is playing a key part in reducing the number of young pedestrians being injured on our roads.

The child pedestrian training programme was introduced in Leeds in 2003, and has been a key factor in reducing the number of children injured as pedestrians in road traffic accidents across the district. It is being delivered to more and more children each year, with a total of 19.194 children benefiting from it over the past five years.

Excellent progress has been made in reducing the number of children injured across most ages, but particularly for those aged 12 and under, which is the age-group specifically targeted by the child pedestrian training programme.

However, the number of children being injured is still too high. Motorists can help to reduce these even further by taking particular care whenever a child or group of children are seen near the road. A moment of inattention by a pedestrian doesn’t mean that an ‘accident’ is unavoidable - most collisions can be prevented by an attentive driver/rider.

Drivers and riders need to remember that children and adults may make mistakes near the roads, and be prepared to take appropriate preventative action.

Councillor Stuart Andrew, lead member for road safety said:
“These are impressive results but more needs to be done and everyone has a part to play if we are to continue to see improvements.

“We are committed to road safety in Leeds and will continue with this training programme to make sure that we do all that we can to protect this most vulnerable group.”

ENDS

Additional info

1994 – 98 baseline figure of 1465 casualties. 2004 – 08 revealed a total of 776 casualties - a reduction of 689 casualties.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Deck the Halls of Temple Newsam


Caption: Santa in his grotto at Home Farm, with Phoebe (2) and Daisy (4) Behan and Councillor John Procter.

Celebrate the days leading up to Christmas by visiting Temple Newsam House and Farm for a wide range of festive activities this year.

The Christmas spirit will be all around the Temple Newsam Estate as activities such as wreath making and bauble making take place, along with Santa appearing in his grotto at Home Farm for one night only.

The festivities started on Tuesday 8th December with a Christmas Masterclass in the Stable Courtyard. Later in the month learn how to make your own Victorian inspired decoration or card on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th December between 11am-12 noon and 2pm -3.30pm at the house, with normal admission charges applying.

Help decorate Temple Newsam House and Home Farm on Thursday 10th December between 10am-3pm by dropping in to the workshop at the Stable Courtyard, where participants can make Victorian garlands and wreaths to decorate the Estate and enjoy traditional mince pies and hot drinks.

On Saturday 12th December the house and farm will be open in the evening for festive fun with costumed characters, music, crafts, parlour games and of course a chance to meet Santa in his grotto.

Christmas crafts and carols will fill the stable courtyard and farm on Sunday 13th December, with carols starting at 2.30pm-3.30pm in the Stable Courtyard and wreath making from 1pm-3pm at Home Farm. Normal admission charges apply.

If you fancy having your Christmas lunch cooked for you, head down to the Tea room on Monday 14th December to enjoy a three course meal with coffee and mints. Booking is essential, tickets are priced at £15.99 for adults and children under 10 cost £7.45. A separate Christmas menu will be available everyday up until Christmas featuring dishes such as roast turkey and cranberry sandwich and Giant Yorkshire pudding filled with Turkey stuffing and gravy.

Emily’s Christmas Entertainment including Victorian songs, carols and parlour games will flood the house with festive sounds on Thursday 17th December. The evening starts at 7.30pm, and tickets must be booked in advance. Tickets cost £10.

Try your hand at printing your own festive wrapping paper on Tuesday 22nd-23rd December, 11am-12noon and 2pm – 3.30pm at the house, taking inspiration from the new wallpaper exhibition at the house.

To start the school holidays off with a Christmas theme, head down to Temple Newsam between Saturday 19th December and the new year for various festive activities taking place at the house and farm. Activities start with the Pretty Pomanders workshop which will teach children how to transform a simple orange into a long lasting scent ball, and continue with activities such as bauble making, making Christmas angels and creating Home Farm calendars.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:
“Temple Newsam Estate is a great place to celebrate the lead up to Christmas. It is a brilliant place for families to get involved with the Christmas spirit and help to decorate and enjoy learning the art of decorating this Christmas in a fantastic atmosphere.”

Notes to editors:

Pre-booking for some of the events is advised. Normal admission charges apply unless otherwise stated.

Children’s activities at Home farm run from 19th December through to 3rd January, but please note there are not activities available on all days.

For more information on what activities are available visit www.leeds.gov.uk/templenewsam or call Visitor Services on 0113 264 5535

For further information or to book tickets contact Visitor Services on 0113 264 5535 or to contact the Tea Room to book the Christmas Lunch, 0113 260 2453

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For media enquiries please contact:
Catherine Milburn,
Learning and Leisure Communications Assistant
on 0113 247 8285
Email: catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

Public opinion needed on latest primary school expansion plans

Residents in seven areas of Leeds which face an increase in the demand for primary education from 2011 will be formally consulted on expanding local primary schools.

A rise in the number of children being born locally and in the number of families with pre-school age children moving into Leeds means extra places are needed in many areas of the city.

The latest consultation will concentrate on communities around Blackgates Primary School in Morley; Clapgate Primary School and Windmill Primary School in Belle Isle; Ryecroft Primary School in Armley; Calverley C of E Primary School; Cross Gates Primary School; and West End Primary School in Horsforth will be asked to comment on proposals to increase the schools’ current capacities to 420.

Education Leeds has proposed to permanently expand the schools from 2011 to ensure every child which needs a school place has one and doesn’t need to make an unreasonable journey to access it.

This is the latest consultation to be carried out across the city to prepare for different schools needing additional places from 2010, 2011 and beyond.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
“We have to ensure school places are available for every child and that local places meet local needs. This need varies across Leeds and we have to adapt to ensure certain schools can meet the demand. These schools face an increase in demand from 2011 and it’s important that local people’s views are considered before a decision is made.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:“The increased demand for primary school places, as a result of a movement into the city and a higher than anticipated birth rate, means we have to reassess the size of certain schools across the city.

“The demand on these seven schools will increase from 2011 and we need to ensure there will be places available to every child who needs one. The consultation will ensure families and local communities can find out more about the plans and help influence the final decision.”

The consultation is due to run between 4 January and 12 February 2010. Views will be summarised and presented to Leeds City Council’s executive board in spring 2010.

Copies of the consultation will be available by contacting Education Leeds on 0113 2475696 or visiting www.educationleeds.co.uk/schoolorganisation.

ENDS

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

Celebration day for early years professionals


Picture caption: Leeds' early years professionals gather to share their successes

Staff who work in childcare and early education in Leeds and have studied hard to become Early Years Professionals (EYPs) have been rewarded for their achievements with a special celebration event.

20 childcare workers who achieved the new graduate Early Years Professional Status came together at the Radisson Hotel in the Light, to celebrate the benefits that high-level learning can bring to local children and their families.

Their achievements were praised by representatives of the Children’s Workforce Development Council - the organisation who introduced this new status.

Councillor Richard Harker, executive member responsible for early years said:
“Over the last 18 months the Early Years Professionals across Leeds have achieved many things worth celebrating. These are hopefully the first in a long line of early years staff in the city to achieve the professional status and bring their higher-level of understanding to offer Leeds’ children the best childcare and early education possible.”

To support the new Early Years Professionals, Leeds City Council’s early years service set up a network to support EYPs from children’s centres and also from private and voluntary early years settings. The network currently has around 40 members and is growing at a steady rate. With a government grant the network has been able to support the EYPs to access additional training and fund the costs of supply cover. This has enabled them to access a variety of different learning experiences such as educational visits to a pre-school noted for excellence in Reggio Italy, to Denmark to learn about childcare and education in a forestry environment and to access various courses and conferences locally and nationally.

Guests at the celebration event heard what some Early Year’s Professionals have learnt during their studies. Tracey Osborn and Sian Tempest from Jolly Giraffes Nursery talked about parents being involved in their children's learning (PICL) and
Angela Foley of Bright Beginnings and Lesley Maughan of Tot’s N Tykes spoke about early years practice across the world from their experience of attending the World Forum event in Ireland. Both presentations from the Early Years Professionals reflected on how the things they have learnt are helping them develop best practice where they work.

Acting Interim Head of the Early Years Service Andrea Richardson attended the event to hear presentations from those whose learning through EYPS is having a real impact on the services they deliver. She said:

‘We are proud to celebrate the achievements of those who have embraced this new professional status here in Leeds.

“Their dedication to extending their learning and providing the highest quality of care and education to our youngest children is inspiring others to do the same. Parents and carers really value childcare workers who have the highest level of knowledge to support children at this crucial stage in their development.

“We’re committed to supporting our childcare workforce to provide this’.

Richard Ashworth, from the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC), congratulated the EYPs on their achievements and emphasised the crucial role that they are playing in leading change and raising the quality of early years provision across the country.

Early Years Professional Status, (EYPS), is a formal accreditation of the skills, knowledge and experience recognised as vital for effective leadership of high quality practice in children’s care, learning and development. The Government’s 2020 Children’s Workforce Strategy aims to place at least one practitioner with EYPS in all childcare organisations for under 5’s by 2015. Leeds is already well on the way to achieving this target, with over 100 practitioners in Leeds currently holding or working towards graduate degrees followed by EYPS.

Any local childcare providers who want to know more about EYPS, or about the support available from the Early Years Service to boost levels of qualification in their workforce, are urged to get in touch with the Service’s Childcare Workforce Team on 0113 39 50909. Local graduates who are considering a career working with children are also very welcome to get in touch, or learn more about EYPS on-line at www.familyhubleeds.org.uk The Service is aware that both men and disabled people are currently under represented in their workforce, and would particularly like to hear from people in those groups.

ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council Press Office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

Audit Commission green flag recognises innovative work with Leeds business community

The unique work that Leeds City Council and Leeds Ahead are doing to engage businesses in public and community work, has been recognised and applauded with a major national award from the Audit Commission announced today, 9th December.

The coveted Green Flag follows the Audit Commission’s Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA) of more than 800 public services across England. It recognises the innovative way in which the council and Leeds Ahead, a social enterprise which involves the city’s businesses in public and community work, have involved businesses in projects that have encouraged enterprise, improved skills and attainment and raised the aspirations.

Leeds Ahead has engaged with nearly 200 businesses of all sizes across the city. They have invested more than £500,000 and donated 13,000 hours of voluntary support, through 460 separate projects. The work has helped more than 12,000 of the 75,000 most deprived people in the city, while the businesses have become valued members of local communities.

The CAA report issued by the Audit Commission, says: “Before 2007, businesses helped support local communities in an uncoordinated way. The Leeds Ahead approach has ensured that support is better directed to what is important for local people. Relationships with local communities are long-term, rather than one-off.

“Businesses have better ownership and understanding of local needs. Employees stay in their jobs for longer, businesses are financially stronger and have better links with local partners. As a result, businesses enjoy better goodwill and reputation benefiting local people and the places in which they live.”

Stephanie Burras, Leeds Ahead Chief Executive, said:

“The public, private and voluntary sectors in Leeds have shown what can be achieved through working together to tackle fundamental issues that impact on future prospects.

“By acting as a unique link between all three, it is our role to ensure that the city maximizes every opportunity to unlock its potential and, with the Audit Commission’s report highlighting the importance of this work, we hope that more and more businesses and organisations will become involved.”

The CAA report highlights a number of areas in which projects and initiatives brokered by Leeds Ahead have enabled businesses to help in narrowing the gap between the city’s haves and have nots. Including:
• Coaching by staff from a city law firm that has enabled a south Leeds college to dramatically improve its GCSE results.
• Mentoring schemes that have increased the participation of young
people in positive activities, improved school attendance rates and attitudes to learning, with higher aspirations for achievement, work, careers and enterprise, offering to break cycles of deprivation and reliance on state benefits.
• Working with prisoners to engage them in the world of work, find employment and so contribute to local society.
• Supporting economic regeneration by providing opportunities
for work experience, and training to improve general work, entrepreneurial
and business management skills.
• Helping community development projects to increase local project design and delivery skills.
• Working with Leeds City Council’s own employees on a volunteering programme that has increased engagement with, and understanding, of the needs of people in deprived areas, improving the prospects, community cohesion and confidence of many people in the most disadvantaged communities in Leeds and helping marginalized groups to become reintegrated.
• Assisting families in poverty by giving them the opportunity to become more independent and financially secure, while giving them greater pride, sense of belonging and achievement in their local communities.

Cllr Richard Brett, joint leader and executive member responsible for closing the gap between the wealthier parts of Leeds and the more deprived areas said:

“It is fantastic news to receive this Green Flag award and credit should go to all those businesses and people who have helped make this scheme a success. It is very encouraging to know that this work has been officially recognised and is something other councils could benefit from.

“Leeds Ahead plays a vital role in helping to close the gap in our city between the more successful and wealthier parts of Leeds and those areas that are more economically disadvantaged.

“The scheme continues to support the economic regeneration of the more deprived parts of the city and help build skills and create opportunities for those who would otherwise not have them.”
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For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office tel: (0113) 224 3602
Email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk

Latest council assessment published by watchdog

Leeds City Council and its partners are working well to tackle poor health and help older people live in their homes but they need to make significant improvements to children’s services– that’s the verdict of a Government watchdog report published today, Wednesday 9 December.

The report, published by the Audit Commission, is one of 152 assessments of local authorities in England looking at all aspects of public services to create a single snapshot of an area. It includes an Area Assessment of the performance of all public services in Leeds and an Organisational Assessment of the effectiveness and performance of Leeds City Council.

The report says that Leeds is a good place to live for many people, that more people are taking advantage of the city’s cultural and leisure facilities and the city has responded well to the recession. Businesses have worked well through Leeds Ahead to help people in deprived communities to improve their skills and aspirations, most types of crime have fallen, and care for older people is good.

However burglary rates are high, housing and health are still big challenges and although many children do well at school, there is still more to do. Public services also need to work better to make sure that some vulnerable children and young people are kept safe from harm.

Councillor Richard Brett, Leeds City Council executive member for performance and improvement, said:

“We welcome the Audit Commission’s findings; we are committed to bringing about the necessary improvements and we remain confident about our prospects for improvement.

“We accept that there are a number of issues within Leeds children’s services that the council and its partners need to tackle urgently. However, we believe that it is important our current challenges are seen in the context of the majority of our inspected services, which are good or better.

“As the second largest council outside London providing services to a population of over 760,000 we are encouraged by some of the Commission’s positive statements about our performance, however, we accept we have some significant challenges. We’ve made real improvements over the years, but know that there is still a lot of work to be done.

“We will continue to work closely with the Audit Commission and our partners to bring about the improvements needed to all our services, to ensure we continue to provide efficient and effective services for Leeds people.“

Inspectors said that while most children’s services in Leeds are at least good, a unannounced inspection in July this year found that more needs to be done to improve children’s referral and assessment arrangements and improve consistency and speed in completing and recording assessments of children at risk. However, inspectors said the council had reacted swiftly to address the reported weaknesses.

While most of the council’s children’s homes were good, or better, one needed improvement: this has since been inspected and is now rated as satisfactory. The council’s adoption service is good and its fostering agency satisfactory but more needs to be done to improve private fostering. A number of actions have already been taken to support this improvement.

Adult social services were found to be performing well and continuing to improve. The council involved people, carers and organisations in developing services to meet their needs and has made good progress to protect older people from harm.

The city has responded well to the recession and is commended for having a ‘clear approach’ which ‘gives confidence to investors, developers and residents that the city is in good shape to overcome the recession.’

Leeds Ahead, a social enterprise which involves Leeds businesses in public and community work, was praised for helping more than 1,200 people in deprived communities benefit from Leeds’ economic growth. Nearly 200 local businesses have invested more than £500,000 and donated 13,000 hours of voluntary support, through 460 separate projects.

While most types of crime have fallen in Leeds and fewer people feel that anti-social behaviour is a problem, burglary rates are very high in parts of the city. The reports state that while there have been some recent improvements, this must continue over a longer period. The police and council are working closely to address the concerns raised by the Commission.

The Organisational Assessment report says the council uses its resources well, has good information about its finances and manages its money well. Last year it saved £23million by doing things differently and had 12,000 fewer days of staff sickness. It has a good understanding of the risks it faces and is also reducing the environmental impact of providing services.

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Notes to Editors


The full Comprehensive Area Assessment summary and reports are available on the Audit Commission’s website: http://oneplace.direct.gov.uk/leeds

The Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA) is the new framework for the independent assessment of local public services in England. CAA has two main elements, which are linked and inform each other, these are:
An Area Assessment which looks at how well local public services are delivering better results for local people across the whole city, focusing on agreed priorities such as health, economic prospects and community safety, and how they are likely to improve in the future. The Area Assessment is reported as a narrative and does not receive a numerical score or rating; instead red and green ‘flags’ are issued in relation to the progress made in an area.
An Organisational Assessment of individual public bodies which for the council comprises of two scored assessments – use of resources and managing performance.
This is the first round of reporting under this new framework which has completely replaced the annual star rating of the Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA).

The new system uses green and red flags to signal how well public bodies are tackling local issues. A green flag indicates exceptional performance or improvement that other public services could learn from. A red flag signals significant concerns about performance and prospects for improvement where more or something different needs to be done.

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For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office tel: (0113) 224 3602
Email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk