Monday, 17 January 2011

Council’s commitment to equality recognised

Leeds City Council has returned to the top 100 of Stonewall’s equality index for the first time in two years.

The council has been ranked 80th – up 41 places from last year – in the campaign group’s annual index of Britain’s leading employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) staff.

The council’s LGB Staff Network has also been given a ‘Star Performer’ award, which recognises that the employee network groups make an invaluable contribution to the experiences of LGB staff.

The council is committed to not only tackling discrimination in the workplace, but also ensure that equality and diversity is a key part of the make-up of the council. The LGB staff network, which is open to all staff within the council, was set up to provide a supportive environment where LGB employees can meet to discuss issues which affect their community and them as individuals.

It provides a channel for LGB employees to raise issues, be involved in policy and procedure decision-making within the organisation, and also take the opportunity to positively promote the LGB community within the council and across Leeds.

Almost 380 organisations made a bid to be featured in the latest Stonewall index, the seventh year it has been compiled. The council was previously in the index in 2008, when it was ranked 67th. It then dropped out of the top 100, before returning this year.

The index is based on a range of indicators which this year included a confidential survey of more than 9,000 lesbian, gay and bisexual employees across the country.

Councillor Ghulam Hussain, Leeds City Council’s equalities champion, said:
“Everyone involved in the council’s LGB network should take pride that their hard work has been recognised and has put the council back into the country’s top 100 most gay-friendly organisations.
“People perform better when they can be themselves – this placement demonstrates that we have the system in place to help people do that.
“Our return to the index of the top 100 employers reflects our wider approach to diversity in the workplace and demonstrates our commitment to valuing and supporting all our employees.”

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, said:
“Supporting our lesbian, gay and bisexual staff means more than just a policy document or website – it’s about showing them that we can listen and respond to their concerns and ideas, and that they are an intrinsic part of our organisation.
“We have worked very hard to ensure that everyone is made to feel welcome and valued in the council.”

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

Sustainable schools programme to be extended across Leeds

A programme designed to teach children and young people how to live greener and more eco-friendly lives is to be launched in schools across Leeds.

The Leeds Sustainable Schools Framework, which aims to educate pupils about protecting the environment and reducing the impact that everyday life has on it, is designed to support schools and give children and young people the skills, attitudes and knowledge to live more sustainable lives.

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The launch of the Leeds Sustainable Schools Framework will take place at Weetwood Primary School, Weetwood Lane, Headingley, LS16 5NW, on Tuesday 18 January between 1pm and 2.30pm. Please call 0113 3951577 or email jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk to confirm attendance.

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Education Leeds and Leeds City Council has set a target for all schools in the city to be outstanding sustainable schools by 2020. To launch the initiative, the head teacher at Weetwood Primary School, Tarsem Wyatt, will be joined by Councillor Judith Blake, the executive board member for children's services, and Dr Ian Cameron, director of public health at NHS Leeds, to highlight the importance of sustainability work in schools and to show their support for the programme.

The launch will take place at Weetwood Primary School, Headingley, on Tuesday 18 January between 1pm and 2.30pm. Members of staff from three local schools, which were part of a 30 school pilot project in 2009, will also be on hand to explain the support they can offer schools and pupils and students will describe a number of initiatives in which they have been involved in.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member for children’s services and learning at Leeds City Council, said:

“It is fantastic that as part of this scheme children and young people will have the opportunity to learn more about how to grow your own and live a healthier, more eco-friendly life.

“We have set a target for every school in Leeds to be recognised as sustainable by 2020 and this new initiative is an important first step in the process. Our schools will play an significant role in reducing the city’s carbon dioxide emissions, and it is key that we involve the children and young people in this process so they understand the need for saving energy and what it really means to be sustainable.

“It is great news that the pilot scheme has worked so well, and we are now able to roll this out across further schools.”


Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services, said:

“Many sectors of society are moving towards becoming more sustainable and our schools should be no different. The roll out of the sustainable schools framework will ensure our schools are leading the way in adopting a green stance and that our children and young people will learn about the impact their lives can have on the world around them.”

For more information on sustainable schools visit www.educationleeds.co.uk.

ENDS

Notes to editors:
The 30 schools involved in the pilot project were: Allerton High School, Alwoodley Primary School, Bankside Primary School, Boston Spa School, Deighton Gates Primary School, Five Lanes Primary School, Garforth Green Lane Primary School, Guiseley School, Harehills Primary School, Hawksworth C of E Primary School, Hunslet Moor Primary School, Iveson Primary School, Kippax North Junior, Infant and Nursery School, Meadowfield Primary School, Meanwood C of E Primary School, Micklefield C of E Primary School, Middleton Primary School, Ninelands Primary School, Otley The Whartons Primary School, Park Spring Primary School, Rawdon Littlemoor Primary School, Shire Oak C of E Primary School, St Nicholas Primary School, Swillington Primary School, Tranmere Park Primary School, Weetwood Primary School, Westerton Primary School, NE SILC West Oaks School and Technology College, Shakespeare Primary School and West Leeds High School.

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