Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Pupil participation to increase as part of Leeds’ child friendly city plans

Schools from across Leeds will host a series of workshops this week to show how children and young people can take a leading role in developing their own schools and contribute to Leeds becoming a child friendly city.

Pupils from 12 primary and secondary schools will deliver training on Wednesday (29 June) to pupils and staff from another 50 schools to highlight the benefits of children and young people taking a more active role in the running of their schools.

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Media are invited to the West Park Centre, Spen Lane, LS16 5BE, on Wednesday 29 June to meet children and young people who have helped organise the day and who will be leading the workshops. The day runs between 9am and 2.30pm and lunch will be between 1pm and 1.40pm. Please email jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk or call 0113 3951577 to confirm attendance.
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The aim of the event is to demonstrate and celebrate a range of programmes in primary, secondary and special schools that relate to pupil participation. This can range from having a school council to running unique projects that encourage other pupils to get involved.

Each of the workshops will last 45 minutes and will be delivered by children and young people. Members of the Leeds Youth Council have helped Leeds City Council plan the event and gave up a day of their half term to do so.

The event will also give an insight into the aspirations of Leeds City Council’s children’s services department for Leeds to become a ‘child friendly city’. UNICEF defines a child friendly city as ‘a local system of good governance committed to fulfilling children’s rights…a city where voices, needs, priorities and rights of children and young people are an integral part of public policy, programmes and decisions…a city fit for all’. Nigel Richardson, the director of children’s services at Leeds City Council, will share his vision for Leeds with everyone via a pre-recorded interview which took place with a student from Leeds City College.

The workshops will cover a range of initiatives that children and young people can take part in including school food ambassadors, effective student leadership in secondary schools and campaigning in the community. Students from Bruntcliffe High School will explain how they take the lead on organising enterprise activities, work with primary schools and bid for public funding to turn their ideas into reality. The ‘green team’ at Five Lanes Primary School will share how they improve the environment and recycle in their school.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member for children’s services, said:
“I am impressed that so many children and young people want to take an active role in their school community. This fantastic event will highlight the advantages it brings to all involved and show how easy it is to take part. Participation in school life will develop children and young people’s knowledge and skills in many different ways, providing valuable experience to help them as they progress through life.”

Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services, said:
“Children and young people are central to everything we do and working to ensure that Leeds is a child friendly city will ensure this approach is taken across many new areas. It’s important that we listen to and involve children and young people in as many aspects of life as possible and this event is an important step towards achieving this.”

Schools leading the workshops include Moortown Primary School, Bruntcliffe High School, Raynville Primary School, Yeadon Westfield Junior School, Yeadon Westfield Infant School, Five Lanes Primary School, Otley Prince Henry’s Grammar School, Harehills Primary School, Lawnswood High School, Bramley St. Peter’s C of E Primary School, North-West Special Inclusive Learning Centre, Spring Bank Primary School.


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

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children awarded for their achievements

28June 2011

Children from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities will be awarded at special ceremony for their achievements tomorrow.

The awards ceremony, organised by Leeds City Council’s Gypsy Roma Traveller achievement service celebrates the children from these communities in Leeds who have achieved a variety of educational success.

The awards have been arranged as part of the national Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month which was pioneered by Leeds City Council four years ago. This annual event raises awareness of and celebrates the communities’ achievements, culture and history, and aims to overcome the prejudice surrounding these often misunderstood communities. It also focuses on ways to improve the achievement of Gypsy Roma Traveller children, which is currently the lowest of any minority group in the UK.

The ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall on Wednesday 29 June, will also award the winners in a city-wide calendar competition which invited all children in Leeds to create designs which focus on aspects of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller life.

Presenting the prizes will be Nigel Richardson, Leeds City Council’s director of children’s services, achievers from within the Gypsy Roma and Traveller communities and special guests Jamie Peacock and Brett Delaney from Leeds Rhinos.

Around 50 achievement awards will be handed out for successes in all aspects of life, including: good school attendance; a commitment to school work; successes in dance and music; good behaviour; being a good role model and achieving qualifications.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
"It is crucial that we engage with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community to ensure that these children reach their full potential and to help foster a commitment to education. This is a great celebration of what can be achieved by working together and creating an environment of mutual understanding.

“Our Gypsy, Roma, Traveller achievement service has been opening up a new world of learning and cultural understanding for over 25 years as well as working directly with members of these communities to help them engage and succeed. “

The winners and runners-up in the calendar competition and those receiving achievement awards will each get a certificate, a small gift and merchandise from Leeds Rhinos.

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

Transatlantic duo pay a visit to Leeds Mummy

Allison DiMatteo and her 16-year-old stepdaughter Anna DiMatteo made a special trip from New York to Leeds City Museum yesterday to see the Leeds Mummy Nesyamun.

Allison is the the great great great grandniece of John Blaydes, the man who originally gave the mummy to the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society in 1824.

The visit recreated one made by Allison to see Nesyamun 32 years ago in 1979 when she was in England visiting her grandparents.

The pair are pictured studying Nesyamun's tomb and the recreation of his face, along with Leeds City Museum curator of archaeology Katherine Baxter who met the pair and gave them a private viewing and explanation of how Nesyamun lived and died over 3,000 years ago.

After the visit Allison DiMatteo said:

“It was even better than my visit 32 years ago. It was much less intimidating this time to see the mummy but just as inspiring. The way the mummy is displayed now as part of the Egyptology and Ancient Worlds exhibition is beautiful. Part of what makes it even more special is that I am able to do for Anna what my grandparents did for me. A big thank you to Kat Baxter and everyone here at the museum for allowing us to do this – it’s really wonderful.”

Her stepdaughter Anna DiMatteo said:

“It was different to what you see in films and photos but it was really enjoyable. I try to be interested in history in school but if it was taught like this I would be much more interested as this brings it to life. It was a great experience.”

Nesyamun can be visited for free at Leeds City Museum Tuesdays to Sundays. For further information on Leeds City Museum, visit the website at www.leeds.gov.uk/citymuseum/


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk