Thursday, 14 July 2011

Sports prizes for schools encouraging pupils to walk

Caption - pupils from winning school Moortown Primary

Enthusiastic pupils who opted for the healthy option to get to school during walk to school week have been awarded prizes for their efforts.

Over 90 schools across the city took part in the walk to school campaign, and were invited to submit projects detailing the events they organised and how many people were involved to the council as part of a competition to win vouchers for sports equipment for their schools.

Moortown Primary School was awarded the top prize of £500 vouchers for sports equipment with the runner up prize of £200 being split between Hunslet St Josephs Catholic Primary and Shakespeare Primary School for their excellent submissions. All the primary schools that took part in the event were given a scooter and the high schools were given HMV vouchers or Vue Cinema tickets.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for development said:
“It is fantastic that all these schools have been involved in encouraging their pupils to walk to school, and choose a healthy travel option.

“Congratulations to Moortown Primary School for winning the competition, and also to all the other schools that took part.”

Mr Rowntree, head teacher at Moortown Primary School said:

“As a happy and healthy school, we like to encourage our learners to choose healthy lifestyles. As a result all our pupils were so excited to be a part of the walking to school week, and really took the initiative, and have continued to walk to school.

“It is great to have been awarded the £500 for sports equipment, and no doubt we will be using this soon.”


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

Bikers to be served up breakfast and road safety tips

Riders will be able to get breakfast with a side of road safety tips at various events across west Yorkshire next week.

As part of west Yorkshire Motorcycle Week, riders are being offered a bacon butty and a brew at a number of locations in Bradford, Leeds and Huddersfield.

The events will provide an opportunity for riders to pick up a copy of the commuter survival guide DVD, filmed on location in West Yorkshire, which features a number of common scenarios commuting riders may face as well as getting information on further training and sharing their commuting experiences.

In addition the events are aimed at encouraging people to give up the car and take to two wheels to help cut congestion and reduce journey times. The breakfasts will run from 7am – 10 am at each of the sites.

Dave Glanville, west Yorkshire motorcycle casualty reduction officer, said:
“Motorcycles and scooters offer a great way of getting around the city quickly and efficiently so it’s right that we encourage that, but also we need to ensure those riders who are commuting, especially at peak times, have the skills to do so safely and effectively.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive board member with responsibility for development, said:
“Used safely and responsibly bikes are an important part of the transport mix. These events will allow riders and road safety professionals to come together and discuss the issues. In addition we may encourage some people to get out of their cars and on to two wheels.”

Notes to editors:
The three locations will include; Bradford Motorcycles, Canal Road, Bradford on 18 July, DC Motorcycles, Alder Road, Huddersfield on 19 July and Leeds Honda Motorcycles, A58M, Leeds on 20 July.

All the breakfasts will run from 7am-10am.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Tel: Cat Milburn 0113 247 4450

Roll up roll up for the Summer Reading Challenge!

Caption: Children preparing for the start of this year's Summer Reading Challenge (image courtesy of The Reading Agency)

It’s a case of roll up roll up for children in Leeds this weekend as the circus comes to Central Library to launch this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.

From 1:30-3:30pm on Saturday 16 July, the central library will feature stories, games, craft activities and circus skills from special guest Peanut the Clown to encourage children aged four to 11 to take part in the annual national challenge to maintain and improve their reading level over the summer holidays.

The theme of this year’s challenge is circus stars, with similar events to be held at various Leeds libraries throughout the summer.

To take part in the challenge, children can sign up for free at their local library and they are then asked to read six books over the holidays. Anyone who completes the challenge will be rewarded with prizes, while their school will automatically be entered into a draw to win a visit from a famous children’s author.

The children will also be able to have their say by reviewing the books they have written, leaving comments and finding what other people are reading at the blog

Leeds City Council’s children's development librarian Lorraine Lee said:

“The Summer Reading Challenge is firmly established as a great fun way of encouraging children to keep up their reading while they are on their summer break.

“It is always very popular in Leeds, so we look forward to seeing lots of families coming along on Saturday to join in the fun and for lots of children to sign up for this year’s challenge at their local library.”

The Summer Reading Challenge is co-ordinated by The Reading Agency and is now in its 13th year. Last year over 7,000 children from across the city took part.

The challenge is part of the summer school holiday events and activities programme being run for children and young people across Leeds. For more information on the summer activities visit

For more information on the Summer Reading Challenge in Leeds visit or call 0113 247 6016.


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

Work starts on new £10m Richmond Hill Primary School

Work on a new £10m school which will be one of the most cutting edge and energy-efficient school buildings in the world is to begin this week.

The new Richmond Hill Primary School will be built to meet the revolutionary ‘Passivhaus’ design standards and will provide 630 children with access to a state-of-the-art learning environment.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********
Media are invited to a sod cutting ceremony to mark the start of building work at Richmond Hill Primary School at 2.30pm on Friday 15 July. Children from the school will join the head teacher to mark the occasion. Please email or call 0113 3951577 to confirm attendance.
**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********

The school design uses an innovative approach to low energy buildings and will achieve exceptionally low running costs as it uses nominal amounts of energy for heating and cooling.

It will also include a number of innovative and ‘futureproof’ features including wide corridors - or ‘learning streets’ - to allow for group and individual learning away from the traditional classroom; larger classrooms to allow for future flexibility across the school; small group rooms for personalised learning; dedicated multi-purpose community space; and a multi-purpose hall.

There will be purpose built provision for children with autism and the new school is a unique opportunity to build a facility for children with some of the most complex educational needs in the city.

A range of community facilities will be available within the building including areas for adult learning and a dedicated extended schools provision. Outside facilities will include a full size adult rugby pitch which has been designed in accordance with RFL and Sport England criteria.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member for children’s services, said:
“Richmond Hill primary will be a landmark school for Leeds. Its Passivhaus design means it will be one of the most eco-friendly schools in the world and its first class facilities will help breathe a new lease of life into this part of the city.

“We are committed to providing the best education to all children and young people in Leeds and this latest project which will help us deliver that. The new school will benefit the whole community and will provide great opportunities for many people in years to come.”

The new building will be ready for the start of the school year in September 2012.


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

Great turn-around for Lawnswood school

Press Release from Lawnswood School.

For further details, please contact Deputy Head Will Carr on 0113 2844020

A LEEDS high school rocked by inspectors two years ago has turned around its fortunes.

Lawnswood was deemed to be failing its pupils and placed in special measures in November 2009.

The news was met with dismay at the 1,500-pupil school, which only a year earlier had been praised for being one of the most improved in the city.

There followed rigorous termly monitoring visits by inspectors. Last month, a full inspection was carried out and the school passed with flying colours.

Several areas, including leadership, capacity for further improvement and the sixth form were all labelled good.

Overall, the school was judged to be now offering a satisfactory standard of education to its students and was taken out of special measures.

"Staff and pupils are thrilled with the news,” said head teacher Georgie Sale, who took charge of the school as executive head teacher in January this year, following the retirement of previous head Milan Davidovic.

“This has been a huge team effort with both staff and pupils wanting to make this school better. There’s a real ‘can-do’ culture now which will carry the school into a successful future.”

The inspectors’ findings, published today (Thursday, July 14) by Ofsted, show vast improvements in many areas. Previously, pupils’ behaviour, teaching and leadership had all been heavily criticised.

“The executive headteacher has secured improvement in many key aspects of school life,” said the inspectors’ report. “Students’ attainment, although low, is improving securely and rapidly. Students’ behaviour is now satisfactory, allowing effective learning to take place in lessons.”

Other areas of improvement at Lawnswood, which was one of the first to be rebuilt in state-of-the-art facilities as part of a national school rebuilding programme, included use of assessment and tracking of pupils’ progress, and the overall care, guidance and support.

“Pupils comment on how much the school has improved and say they feel safe,” said Ofsted, which added, “Students’ attendance remain below average but is improving securely and the proportion of students who persistently do not attend school has fallen.”

Lawnswood’s chair of governors Amanda Jahdi said:
“Although there is still a lot of work to be done, we now have some very firm foundations on which to continue to build the excellent school we all aspire to.”

Cllr Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children's services at Leeds City Council, added:
“This is great news for Lawnswood and the city.

“I’d like to congratulate the head, the staff, the children, the parents and the governors for their hard work to achieve this great turnaround. We know there is still a long way to go but it is very encouraging that the inspectors considered that both the leadership and the school’s capacity to improve were considered to be a good standard.

“I am confident that the school will continue its impressive progress, giving all its young people the chance to achieve their potential.”

For media enquiries for Leeds City Council, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713