Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Decision a step closer on future of girls only education

The decision by Leeds City Council’s executive board today (7 April) to publish a statutory notice to close Parklands Girls’ High School in August 2011 and reopen it as a mixed academy in September 2011 could signal the end of girls only education in the city.

The city-wide consultation assessed the need for girls only education and revealed there’s not enough current demand to support it in its current location.

However a final decision, based on the outcome of the statutory notice, will be made on the future of Parklands by the executive board in June.

Education Leeds has been asked by the executive board to assess, over the next year, if establishing a girls only school in a more central location – rather than in the east of the city – would lead to an increase in demand.

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“The outcomes of the consultation on girls only education have reinforced what we have been told all along by the majority of families – that a high quality, successful school is far more important than the choice of sending their children to a single sex school.”

Councillor Andrew Carter, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“The location of Parklands could be a factor in it’s declining popularity so we have asked Education Leeds to commission another study to look into whether a more central location would make a girls only school a more popular choice in the future.
“We must be sure that we have properly assessed whether there is sufficient demand for single sex education throughout the city before a final decision is made on the future of girls only education.”

Recent figures for first preferences for Parklands, which is the city’s only local authority run girls school, highlighted the declining demand for girls only education. In 2003/04 there were 127 first preferences which reduced to just 63 in 2009/10 and 39 in 2010/11.

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

Three secondary school statutory notices to be published

Proposals to publish statutory notices to close three Leeds secondary schools and reopen two as academies have been provisionally approved by Leeds City Council.

After consultations were held regarding the futures of all three schools, the council’s executive board today (7 April) gave permission for statutory notices to be published regarding Parklands Girls’ High School, Primrose High School and City of Leeds from 2011.

The notices relate to individual proposals for each school, which include:

City of Leeds permanently closing in August 2011, with pupils transferring to other nearby secondary schools.
However, during the six week statutory notice period, Education Leeds will explore other options to ensure the continued use of the City of Leeds school site for educational purposes. They will also consider other proposals, which were raised during the consultations, as alternatives to closing the school. Education Leeds bosses will report back these findings to the executive board in July this year.

Primrose High School closing in August 2011 and reopening in September 2011 as an academy sponsored by the Co-operative Society, with Leeds City College as an educational partner.

Parklands Girls’ High School closing in August 2011 and reopening as a mixed school in September 2011 as an academy sponsored by E-ACT - which already sponsors the Leeds West Academy in Bramley (a separate media release on the future of girls only education in Leeds is also available).

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“We are committed to improving the education, outcomes and aspirations of every child and young person in Leeds. These proposals have been made to continue to boost achievements at these schools and to ensure each one reaches the government’s National Challenge target by September 2011.
“If the proposals are approved at the end of the statutory notice period, everything possible will be done to ensure that the changes are as smooth as possible for the young people affected. I am confident that this will result in better achievements and enhanced opportunities for the students at all three schools.”

Councillor Andrew Carter, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“We recognise that City of Leeds is a unique school, and we are very supportive of proposals to see education services remain on this site. We have instructed Education Leeds to explore all possible options to ensure the continued use of this location for educational purposes.”

All three schools are included in the government’s National Challenge programme meaning changes had to be made to ensure the 30 per cent GCSE target for 2011 is reached or maintained.

Parklands Girls’ High School’s GCSE results exceeded the national target this year but a declining roll and difficult financial situation presents a challenge for sustaining progress beyond 2011. City of Leeds and Primrose High School both face major challenges to improve teaching, attendance and behaviour standards and required changes to reach the 2011 target.

Statutory notices regarding the academies and closures will now be published with a final decision made by the council’s executive board in June.

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

General election means extra cash for council services in Leeds

The decision to hold the general election on the same day as the local elections means additional money is going to be ploughed into priority services in Leeds.

An extra £250,000 will be spent across the city.

Until Gordon Brown officially confirmed the date of the election yesterday, Leeds City Council had set aside funds in case it had to organise two separate counts.

The local elections were always going to happen on May 6 – but now, the same polling stations and polling staff will be used for the general election as well.

Councillor Richard Brett, joint council leader and executive board member with responsibility for elections said:

“There had always been an outside chance that the local and the general elections would have taken place on different days.

“That’s why we’ve had to put money aside in case the council ended up having to organise two separate counts.

“Clearly, it makes sense that both happen on the same day because we can use our people and polling stations together.

“I also hope it means more people across Leeds will be encouraged to vote – they’ll be able to influence the future of our city and the country at the same time.

The ‘spare’ cash could be spent on a number of different council services including refuse collection and street cleaning, children’s services or repairing pot holes caused by the cold weather at the beginning of the year.

Councillor Brett added:

“Given the pressures the council finds itself under at this time, there are plenty of competing services which could do with a financial boost.

“I’m pleased that a common sense decision to have the general and local elections on the same day means we won’t be wasting money unnecessarily.”

ENDS
For media enquiries please contact:
Andy Carter, Leeds City Council (0113) 395 0393
e-mail: andy.carter@leeds.gov.uk

Primary school expansions in 2011 take a step forward

Plans to provide more primary school places for local children across Leeds from September 2011 have been initially approved by Leeds City Council.

Education Leeds plans to increase the number of places at four primary schools in September 2011 – Windmill, Clapgate, Ryecroft and Blackgates – as well as making two local schools in Horsforth all age primary schools to accommodate children between the ages of five and 11 years old.

In Horsforth, there would be a change from the current 7-11 year age group at Newlaithes and the 5-7 year age group at Featherbank which would provide a further 30 reception year places from September 2011.

The proposals at each of the six schools include:
• Decreasing the lower age range of Horsforth Newlaithes from 7-11 to 5-11, with an admission limit of 60, and with an overall capacity of 420 children, and;
• Increasing the age range of Horsforth Featherbank from 4-7 to 4-11, and decrease the admissions number from 60-30, with an overall capacity of 210 children.
• Increasing the capacity at Blackgates from 300 to 420.
• Increasing the capacity at Clapgate from 315 to 420.
• Increasing the capacity at Ryecroft from 210 to 420.
• Increasing the capacity at Windmill from 315 to 420.

The expansions are needed to help meet the increased demand for places caused by a higher than anticipated birth rate and a movement of families into the area

Leeds City Council’s executive board today (April 7) agreed the plans and gave Education Leeds permission to publish legal notices about the expansions.

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“These six primary schools already provide brilliant educations to hundreds of children in the city and the expansions will ensure that even more children who need a local school place will benefit from their excellent teaching and facilities.

“We will work closely with each school to ensure the transition will be as smooth as possible and all children who will start at the schools in September 2011 will be able to look forward to a fantastic education in fantastic learning environments.”

Plans to expand Cross Gates primary and Calverley CE primary have been withdrawn as have plans to expand Horsforth West End Primary School. However, the number of births and movement into all three areas will continue to be monitored

A final decision on the expansions in 2011 will be made by Leeds City Council’s executive board in July.

ENDS

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

Primary school expansion funding agreed by Leeds City Council

Funding to expand 16 primary schools across Leeds from September this year has been agreed by Leeds City Council.

Additional places are needed across the city as a result of a rise in the number of children being born in Leeds and the number of families moving into the area.

Education Leeds has been carefully planning for the expansions and held a number of public consultations across the city to measure local opinion about the increases.

At today’s executive board meeting (April 7) it was agreed to provide an estimated £8.3m* for the school expansions in 2010 pending the outcome of statutory notices which were recently published. A final decision will be made in the summer.

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:“Expanding these schools will ensure that the brilliant primary school education in Leeds is available to every child who needs it.

“The additional classrooms and facilities will be in high quality buildings, designed to last at least 50 years, and will be permanent classrooms. All the expansions will be handled very carefully and everything possible will be done to minimise disruption at the schools.”

The estimated cost and details of the proposed expansions include:• Beeston - admissions to rise from 60 to 90, seven additional classrooms, studio, lift, toilets and circulation. Some remodelling of the current building is also required. Estimated cost: £950,000.
• Blenheim - admissions to rise from 30 to 60, seven additional classrooms, studio, toilets and circulation. Remodelling of the existing building is also required. Estimated cost: £892,000.
• Brudenell - admissions to rise from 40 to 45, three additional classrooms, toilets and circulation. Estimated cost: £290,000.
• Ebor Gardens - admissions to rise from 30 to 60, seven additional classrooms, studio, lift, toilets and circulation. Remodelling of the existing building is also required. Estimated cost: £892,000.
• Greenmount - admissions to rise from 45 to 60, three additional classrooms, lift, toilets and circulation. Five temporary classrooms will be removed. Some remodelling of the main school will be required. Estimated cost: £900,000.
• Highfield - admissions to rise from 45 to 60, four additional classrooms, toilets and circulation, and demolition of existing temporary units. Estimated cost: £463,000.
• Hugh Gaitskell - admissions to rise from 75 to 90 which will necessitate four additional classrooms, toilets and circulation. Remodelling of the existing building will also be required. Estimated cost: £428,000.
• Ireland Wood - admissions to rise from 30 to 60, seven additional classrooms, studio, lift, toilets and circulation. Estimated cost: £892,000.
• Ingram Road - admissions to rise from 30 to 45 which will necessitate three additional classrooms, studio, lift, toilets and circulation. Remodelling of the main school building will also be required. Estimated cost: £332,000.
• Iveson - admissions to rise from 30 to 45, no additional classrooms will be required since there is sufficient space available within the school. However, there will be some minor refurbishment of the building. Estimated cost: £51,000.
• Mill Field - admissions to rise from 30 to 60, six additional classrooms, staffroom, toilets and circulation plus remodelling of the main building. Estimated cost: £650,000.
• New Bewerley - admissions to rise from 45 to 60, three additional classrooms, toilets and circulation. There will also be remodelling costs to the existing building. Estimated cost: £400,000.
• Swarcliffe - admissions to rise from 30 to 45, four additional classrooms, toilets and circulation together with minor remodelling to the main building. Estimated cost: £428,000.
• Victoria - admissions to rise from 50 to 60, five additional classrooms, lift, toilets and circulation. The existing temporary classroom will be removed and the space built into the project. Estimated cost: £560,000.
• Whitkirk - admissions to rise from 45 to 60. However, since there is existing surplus space in the building only remodelling will be required. Estimated cost: £51,000.
• St Augustine’s - admissions to rise from 50 to 60 (no statutory process required). Since the school is aided the school are to fund this scheme.

ENDS

Notes to editors:
*At this stage the costs are estimates only. The final amounts spent on each scheme will be determined once final designs have been agreed.

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

Mother told that her sons must stay away – or she’ll lose her home

A mother has been told by a court that she will lose her home if her two sons don’t stay away.

At Leeds County Court, Susan Lipzith was told that because of the offending behaviour of her sons, 18-year-old Lee and 19-year-old Michael, they could not live with or visit her at her council house on Lea Farm Road.

Under the terms of the two-year suspended possession order, if they are found to have visited her then she will lose her home.

At the court hearing last week, Mrs Lipzith, 48, admitted breaching the tenancy conditions of her council house and accepted that if she does not follow the order then Leeds City Council will seek possession of the house.

She must not allow Michael to return to the premises as either a resident or a visitor. She must also ensure that Lee vacates the house on or before than 4pm on 28th April and does not allow him to return as either a resident or visitor.

The two have been involved in various forms to criminal behaviour such as theft, burglaries, regularly throwing stones at police officers and vehicles and causing damage to gardens.

Michael is currently in a Young Offenders Institute, having been sentenced to two years at Leeds Crown Court on 18th September last year for conspiracy to burgle. He is due for release in September.

Lee Lipzith is currently the subject of a curfew order and the North West Leeds Offender Management Unit will liaise with the Probation Service to help with Lee's relocation.

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for community safety and chair of the Safer Leeds partnership, said:
“I hope this sends out a clear message – we will not accept anti-social behaviour from those who commit it or those who allow it.
“The vast majority of our council house tenants abide by the rules of their tenancy, and we have taken this action as a last resort.
“If someone is making their neighbours’ lives a misery we will work with the police to take every action we can to tackle that inappropriate behaviour.”

Inspector Simon Jessup, of the North West Inner Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:
"This case clearly demonstrates the action we can take in partnership with the council to address behaviour that impacts on the wider community.
“We hope it sends out a message to others that criminal prosecutions are not the only means available to us.
“Tenancy enforcement action will continue to be an important additional tool for us in our ongoing work to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in our communities."

ENDS
For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk