Friday, 16 December 2011

Last chance to get the hottest ticket in the education calendar

Education leaders from across the country are being reminded time is running out to book their place at the top education conference of the year.

With top speakers from the world of education, politics, sport and the media, the North of England Education Conference 2012 is expected to set the tone for new thinking in education, as well as provoking passionate debate and inspirational ideas amongst the delegates.

The North of England Education Conference, is the country’s most historic conference of its kind having taken place annually for over a hundred years. This year’s conference is being hosted by Leeds City Council and partners including Leeds University and Leeds Met University, and will take place at the Royal Armouries museum between Wednesday 4 and Friday 6 January 2012.

Spaces are booking up fast and time is running out, so people interested in attending should visit to reserve their place.

People from the world of education and children’s services are being urged not to miss out on an impressive line-up of speakers including Schools Minister Nick Gibb MP, Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg MP and Olympic gold medallist Jonathan Edwards.

A highlight of this year’s conference will be an education question time session which is being chaired by the BBC’s education correspondent Gillian Hargreaves. A lively debate is expected between the high profile panellists including Toby Young, Fiona Millar and Melissa Benn.

Presiding over the Leeds conference is Mick Waters, one of education’s most popular and influential figures. Mick is keen to reinvigorate the conference this year to make it just as relevant now as it was when it first started in 1902. He said:
“I am certainly looking forward to the presiding role. This most traditional of conferences is unique in bringing together all partners; central government, local government and elected members, state maintained schools, education and academy trusts, free schools, the independent sector, governors, higher education, employers and business, and politicians.

“The programme is dynamic; the organisers have assembled a galaxy of fine speakers who will challenge and provoke debate around the conference theme of passion, potential and performance. With the Olympic Games year upon is there is a sporting focus and the arts, business, politics and journalism all have their say.”

For more information on the North of England Education Conference 2012, including a full programme and biographies of all the speakers and panellist, visit

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

Changing Places success for Leeds

The new Changing Place facility at the Gallery Cafe

People with disabilities can now access 12 specialist toilets at key locations across Leeds, providing them with improved standards of dignity and comfort.

Adults and children with disabilities can feel socially excluded if the specialist equipment required to meet their needs isn't widely available. Keen to address this, Leeds City Council signed up to a Mencap backed campaign, which promotes the creation of a network of 'Changing Places' toilets across the country.

In January 2010, Leeds had just one Changing Place toilet, at the Whitehouse Cafe, Otley Chevin. Since then, thanks to funding being allocated through the council’s Learning Disability Community Support Service capital programme, and a successful bid to the Aiming High for Disabled Children fund, another 11 have been opened.

The latest Changing Place to open is at the new Gallery Cafe, which is situated below the main entrance to Leeds Art Gallery on The Headrow. This excellent new facility also features an innovative handbasin, which was donated to the council by a company called Ropox, based in Ilkley.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member responsible for health and adult social care, said:
“I’m delighted with the progress that we have made with these facilities, as they are key to opening up our great city to people with disabilities.

“Changing Places can make a tremendous difference to the lives of people with disabilities and their carers, by allowing them to visit locations across the city, knowing that suitable toilet facilities will be available.

“Standard disabled toilets are not usually big enough for two carers to assist and don't have the right equipment to allow people with disabilities to be changed hygienically and with dignity.

“By putting these specialist toilets in public buildings and venues across the city, we hope people with disabilities and their carers will be able to fully participate in what Leeds has to offer, without the worry that there won’t be suitable facilities for them to use.”

A Changing Places toilet has sufficient space to easily accommodate two carers, and is fitted with specialist equipment including a hoist, a height adjustable changing bench – suitable for adults and children, and sometimes even a shower.

Leeds is proud to have Changing Places toilets at a variety of buildings in the city including leisure centres, a joint service centre, community/enterprise centres and other popular, publicly accessible buildings. These will help children and adults with disabilities, and their carers, make the most of their visits to Leeds.

Families can find out if there are Changing Places toilets in a location they wish to visit nationally by looking at the website, or by contacting 020 7696 6019.

The locations for the Changing Places toilets in Leeds were decided upon after consulting with parents and carers of children and adults with disabilities. Facilities are now open at the following venues:
• The Whitehouse CafĂ©, Otley Chevin
• Armley leisure centre
• Morley leisure centre
• John Charles Centre for Sport
• Headingley HEART Centre
• Tech North, Harrogate Road
• Hillside Community Centre/Tiger 11
• Lotherton Hall
• West Yorkshire Playhouse
• Temple Newsam
• The Gallery Shop and Cafe, Leeds Central Library/Art Gallery
• The Reginald Centre


For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578