Monday, 8 November 2010

New drop-in sessions signal the start of primary school admissions

The new school year might be 11 months away but families with children starting primary school in September 2011 can already start their applications.

Preferences for schools can now be made online and, to help with the process, a number of drop-in sessions will take place this week. Organised by Education Leeds, they are designed for families to find out more about their children starting school and access impartial advice and information.

The sessions will take place on: Tuesday: 3pm to 5pm, Burley Park Children’s Centre; Wednesday: 3pm to 4pm, Armley Moor Children’s Centre; Thursday: 3pm to 4pm, Chapeltown Children’s Centre; Thursday: 3pm to 5pm, Meanwood Children’s Centre

A number of other sessions are being planned for December at various One Stop Shops across the city (dates to be confirmed).

Over 3,000 online primary school applications for September 2011 have already been submitted and the deadline for applications is 15 January 2011, with all offers being made on 20 April 2011.

While traditional application forms are also available from primary schools (during term time) it’s hoped even more parents and carers will take advantage of the secure, safe online admissions applications this year.

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board responsible for learning, said:
“A lot of work has gone into making the admissions process straight forward and the new advice sessions and online applications are designed to give families the most help possible.

“Despite this, in the last school year, 550 applications for primary school places were made after the offer date in March and before the start of term. It’s far more difficult to allocate places in these circumstances and families which do this risk not being able to send their child to their preferred school.

“It’s essential that preferences are made as soon as possible and that three schools are listed - including your local school - to ensure every child and young person has the best chance of attending their preferred school.”

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:“Don’t forget, don’t be late and think local. Leeds is fortunate to have so many great local schools and the vast majority of our children are able to attend their preferred one.

“Unfortunately we cannot guarantee places which is why it’s vital that all three preferences are filled in - including parents’ local school - and that the applications are returned to us on time. Previous years have shown that people who send their forms in late, or do not submit a form at all, are unlikely to be able to attend one of their preferred schools.”

Figures for admissions in September 2010 show the percentage of families offered their first preference was 86.2 per cent while the percentage offered one of their three preferences was 96.7 per cent.

For more information about admissions visit


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

Tips for the urban jungle commute

Commuters who use their bikes to get to work through the urban jungle are being offered free advice on riding skills and techniques this weekend.

Leeds City Council are inviting bikers to Leeds Honda Motorcycles dealership to find out about the different skill set that is needed when riding in heavy traffic on congested roads, especially during the daily commute.

******************** Media opportunity ********************

All media are invited to the launch event at Leeds Honda Motorcycles dealership on Saturday 13 November from 11am to 1pm. Bikers will be dropping by to get hints and tips on the best ways to ride in heavy traffic, and receive their free dvd. Officers from the council’s road safety team will also be available to talk to.
******************** Media opportunity ********************

The Commuter Survival Guide dvd from the makers of ‘Great Roads Great Rides 1 & 2’ will be played throughout the event. The dvd focuses on the skills you need to stay safe in the urban jungle and get to work or through a town in the safest way possible. There will be officers from the council, police and fire service on hand to talk through the tips and skills of biking through heavy traffic.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive board member with responsibility for development said:
“This is a fantastic new resource and much of the dvd was filmed in Leeds and West Yorkshire, and it should give our riders a real insight into dealing with difficult riding conditions. Anyone using two wheels to get to work and back or even just riding through town on they’re way out somewhere else should get a copy.”

Dave Glanville motorcycle road safety officer for West Yorkshire:

“A substantial number of our rider casualties in West Yorkshire are commuter riders. Peak travel times see a real rise in rider casualties so it’s key that we address this through giving riders the skills to deal with heavy traffic as well as reminding other road users to ‘think bike!’”

Notes to editors:

Statistics from the accident studies unit for West Yorkshire (2005-08)

Seventy one percent of rider casualties occurred in areas with a 30 mph speed limit. Wednesdays and Fridays saw the highest number of riders killed or seriously injured. Most riders were injured between 7am to 9am and 4pm to 7pm on weekdays. Forty eight percent of rider casualties occurred on unclassified roads (side roads).

Free copies of the dvd will be available for riders on the day and then from dealerships around West Yorkshire. In addition the clips will be available to view on the Quality Yorkshire Riders website. Also there will be high vis vests handed out at the event for any rider travelling wanting to stand out on darker nights and mornings.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Shayne gets ready for festive fun in Leeds

Caption: Shayne Ward will be performing at the switch-on in Leeds

Former X-Factor winner Shayne Ward has been announced as one of the big-name performers at this year’s Leeds Lights switch-on.

The 26-year-old singer who rose to stardom in 2005 will be performing his new single ‘Gotta Be Somebody’ at the free annual event which takes place from 7pm on Thursday 18 November at Victoria Gardens in the city centre as Leeds officially starts the run-up to Christmas.

Organised by Leeds City Council and Real Radio with support from media partners the Yorkshire Evening Post, this year’s show will also see performances by new and upcoming quartet The Great British Barbershop Boys, Kelly Brazil as Hannah Montana, Britain's Got Talent finalist and Harrogate's own Christopher Stone and local dance group Demeanour - the winners of Leeds City Council’s Breeze Has Talent competition.

There will be special appearances by cbeebies television presenter Katy Ashworth together with local sporting heroes from Leeds United and Leeds Rhinos and, of course, Santa's show time.

Singer Shayne Ward said:

“I can’t wait to perform at the Leeds Christmas lights switch-on. It’s a great city and the crowds are always fantastic. Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year and this will really get me in the festive spirit.”

The annual event which attracts approximately 20,000 people is seen as the start of the Christmas shopping season in Leeds, with the finale of the show seeing the switch flicked to turn on the largest festive illuminations in the UK – covering over 15 miles around the city centre.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“The Christmas lights switch-on in Leeds is always a fantastic event and this year is sure to be another great show. The atmosphere is always wonderful as everyone really gets into the spirit of celebrating another Christmas on the way so we look forward to seeing as many people there as possible joining in the fun.”

Along with Shayne Ward, the headline act for the event will be announced on Real Radio and in the Yorkshire Evening Post on Monday 15 November as the final countdown begins to the show.

Managing Director for Real Radio Yorkshire Steve South

“Real Radio is proud to once again be partnering Leeds City Council in this great event and bringing the top names of pop music such as Shayne Ward to the city centre festivities. Shayne always delivers a great show and I know this will be a lights switch-on to remember.”

For further information contact Leeds City Council’s events team on 0113 395 0891 or visit

Notes to editors:

Leeds City Council is the only local authority in the country to design, manage and produce all its own displays, working out of a workshop in Seacroft. It also supplies more than 60 Christmas trees to the city, as well as providing illuminations for the Leeds International Film Festival and various Sikh and Muslim festivals.


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email:

Man fined £5,000 for refusing to demolish illegal house extension

A man has been fined and ordered to partially demolish his house after pleading guilty to failing to obey a planning enforcement notice.

In Leeds Magistrates Court yesterday, Yousef Nedyah of 61 High Ash Avenue, Leeds, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs after pleading guilty to breaching a planning enforcement notice.

In November 2003, Mr Nedyah obtained planning permission for a single storey and first floor side extensions with dormer windows to the front and rear of his property, and a porch to the front.

However, when he finished the development was so different from the approved plans that Leeds City Council served an enforcement notice in August 2005 that required him to demolish the unauthorised works and comply with the planning permission. Mr Nedyah appealed against the notice but this was dismissed by an government planning inspector in June 2006.

Since then the council sought to resolve the situation, however Mr Nedyah never gave any notice of when the required works would be carried out and the council had no option but to seek action through the courts.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for city development, said:
“Planning rules are there to prevent excessive development and ensure that buildings are the correct size and character for the surrounding area.
“I hope this is a warning to anyone thinking of flouting planning rules – we will enforce them and if you ignore them we will not hesitate to go through the courts.”

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