Thursday, 23 August 2012

Statement from Leeds City Council regarding unfair grading of English GCSE by AQA

Leeds City Council understands that one of the country’s main examination boards - AQA - have changed the grading system they use for English GCSE’s without informing schools. This means that, for example, two students who completed the same coursework/ test and achieved the same mark but had their work submitted at different times of the year (one in January and one in June) have been awarded different grades – eg a grade C in January has emerged as a grade D in June.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:“This fiasco will have a devastating impact on so many young people’s futures, through no fault of their own. This means that some students could be denied places on apprenticeships or college courses because of their English grades and this just is not right.

“I am outraged that the lives of young people are being played around with in this way.

“The unfair method of grading the English GCSE by AQA is also decimating the overall results of many schools and could mean some are now not hitting their floor targets when yesterday they were confident they would.

“It is my understanding that all examination boards are required to ensure that they are fair to all pupils and that they are not advantaged or disadvantaged simply because their work is submitted to the board at different times of the year. We do not feel this basic principle of fairness has been adhered to in this case and will be looking with colleagues nationally at the possibility of raising a legal challenge to ensure Ofqual and the government put this right.

“We will also be contacting our local colleges and apprenticeship providers to ensure young people are not penalised because of this failure by AQA.

“We agree that standards must be raised and exams must be rigourous and testing, but they must also be fair. Moving the goal posts mid year is not acceptable.”

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

GCSE students celebrate with another year of great results

Young people across Leeds are celebrating their GCSE results with initial figures suggesting 2012 is another successful year for pupils in the city.

Over 8,000 pupils in the city are receiving their results today (Thursday 23 August) and, although the full extent of the results won’t be known until later in the year, early signs are that students in Leeds are continuing to do well.

Leeds City Council is still collecting results from the city’s secondary schools but early indicators - from around 84 per cent of schools and academies - suggest this year’s 5 A*-C figure is around 84 per cent, currently a two per cent increase on last year, while the 5 A*-C including English and maths figure is expected to be around 55 per cent, a 1.5 per cent increase.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for learning, said:“Everyone who has taken their GCSEs this year deserves congratulations for their efforts and achievements. Exams are a difficult and stressful time but with the help and support of their families and schools, they have done themselves and the city proud.

“These results reflect the hard work and commitment of our young people which has provided them with a solid foundation on which to build their futures.”

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

Motorists warned of temporary closure of Leeds Inner Ring Road

Picture caption: "Cranes removing the old concrete beams earlier this month."

The A58M Leeds Inner Ring Road is to be closed to traffic in both directions the weekend of Saturday 1 September to Monday 3 September to allow for the installation of the first concrete beams as part of the essential major repair works to Lovell Park Road Bridge.

The closure of the A58M Inner Ring Road in both directions will start at 8pm on Saturday 1 September and will last until 5am on Monday 3 September.

Lovell Park Road Bridge carries Lovell Park Road over the A58M Inner Ring Road near to the site of the Leeds Arena. Repair works started on the bridge on in June.

The works are currently progressing well and the new beams are to be installed using a large crane that will be placed on the A58M Inner Ring Road next to the bridge.

Leeds City Council apologises for the disruption to traffic travelling through the city centre. These works may cause significant delays and people are advised to allow more time for their journeys.

The extent of the closures will be between:-

Eastbound Traffic
The closure will be between the Woodhouse Lane exit slip and the North Street entry slip although Harrogate bound traffic will be permitted to continue to the Clay Pit Lane exit slip only.
Eastbound through traffic will be diverted via the Armley Gyratory, the A643 to the M621 Jnct 2, onto the M621 to Junct 4, onto the A61 towards York and East Leeds.
Local and City Centre traffic will be diverted via the A660, Woodhouse Lane, Merrion Way and North St.

Westbound Traffic
The closure will be between the A653 Marsh Lane exit slip and the A58 Clay Pit Lane entry slip.
Westbound traffic will be diverted via the A653 Marsh Lane, the A61 (signposted towards the motorways), onto the M621 at Junct 4 and exiting at Junct 2, onto the A643 towards the Armley Gyratory.

One further closure of the A58M Inner Ring Road will be required to install the new concrete beams.

The bridge is being repaired as part of a major £25 million programme to restore three bridges on the Inner Ring Road. Repairs to the New York Road Viaduct are already underway and the final phase – to Woodhouse Tunnel - will begin in Spring 2013.

For full details of the dates, times and location of the closures together with the diversion routes for affected traffic see

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

Paralympic Flame coming to Leeds ahead of London 2012

Caption: The Paralympic Flame was lit yesterday and will be seen in Leeds on Saturday

The Paralympic Flame will be appearing in Leeds this weekend ahead of the start of the London 2012 Paralympic Games next week.

The symbol of the Games will be the star attraction at a free celebration event at the John Charles Centre for Sport from 12noon to 2pm on Saturday 25 August just days before the biggest showcase of disability sport ever seen begins in London next Wednesday (August 29).

The celebration event in Leeds, hosted by Leeds City Council and the Leeds Disability Sport Youth Panel, is open to disabled and non-disabled people of all ages and abilities and will involve more than 10 Paralympic sports being demonstrated and for anyone to try.

The Paralympic Flame began burning yesterday, when it was formally lit by disabled and non-disabled scouts at Scafell Pike in Cumbria along with others at Ben Nevis in Scotland, Snowdon in Wales and Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland.

From there the individual flames were placed in miners’ lanterns and will be transferred separately to London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast for celebration events in each nation’s capital. At the celebration event for the English flame in London’s Trafalgar Square on Friday, Yorkshire’s Flame Ambassador Evan Whitton aged eight from Silsden will be given the honour of collecting a special lantern containing a splinter of the flame.

Evan will then return to Yorkshire with the lantern on Friday afternoon, where it will be split into five further lanterns which will appear at celebrations in the region including the event in Leeds on Saturday.

The flames which will appear at 33 events happening across the UK before each national flame converges into one again at the spiritual home of the Paralympics Stoke Mandeville for the start of the London 2012 Paralympic Torch Relay which begins at 8pm on Tuesday 22 August.

The relay will see 116 teams of five torchbearers carry the flame 92 miles over 24 hours before it reaches the Olympic Park in time for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games on Wednesday, where Leeds athletes will be looking to emulate the extraordinary success of their Team GB colleagues from the Olympics.

Leading the way for Leeds will be Rawdon resident David Stone MBE, who will be looking to repeat his stunning performances at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008 where he won gold medals in both the road race and individual time trial cycling events.

On the track, Hannah Cockroft from Halifax who trains at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds may become one of the stars of the Games as the 20-year-old goes into the event as the current world record holder in four distances of wheelchair racing.

In the pool, City of Leeds swimmer Claire Cashmore will be carrying the Leeds hopes, looking to win medals in her third successive Paralympic Games after securing bronze in both Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.

The fourth Leeds representative competing will be Ali Jawad in the Paralympic powerlifting. The 23-year-old former world and European junior champion, who is originally from Lebanon, is based at the Team GB High Performance Centre at Leeds Metropolitan University.

All four are expected to be competing in front of capacity crowds as for the first time in the history of the Paralympics the event which runs from Wednesday 29 August to Sunday 9 September from is expected to be a sell-out with 2.5million tickets sold.

Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Ann Castle said:

“After the amazing success of the Olympic Games and the incredible performances of Team GB and our Yorkshire athletes, we are all looking forward to seeing more of the same with the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

“It would be great to see as many people as possible coming along to see the Paralympic Flame in Leeds, and the very best of luck to our Leeds athletes competing in the Games. We will all be watching and willing you on.”

For all those inspired by Team GB’s stunning performances at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Leeds City Council-managed leisure centres across the city are now offering a range of special offers. These include the chance to buy 12 sport and fitness activities for £20 in swimming, aqua aerobics, Bodyline gym sessions and fitness classes. There are also adult swimming lessons on offer priced at £20 for 12 sessions.

Young people are also catered for with £1 taster sessions available in swimming, water polo, gymnastics, tennis, synchronised swimming and diving. For full details of all the available offers visit or call 0113 395 0001. Community parks in Leeds have also got into the Olympic spirit with temporary running tracks put in place in 19 areas across the city.

For details of Leeds’ involvement in the London 2012 Paralympic Games and Olympic Games, visit

Notes to editors:

The athletes from and based in Leeds will be competing in the London 2012 Paralympic Games on the following dates:

David Stone MBE
Road cycling: 5 Sept – men’s T1-2 time-trial, 8 Sept – men’s T1-2 road race

Hannah Cockroft
Wheelchair racing: 31 Aug - T34 women’s 100m, 4 & 6 Sept – T34 women’s 200m

Claire Cashmore
Swimming: 30 Aug - S9 100m women’s butterfly, 1 Sept - SB8 women’s 100m breaststroke & 6 Sept - SM9 women’s 200m individual medley

Ali Jawad
Powerlifting: 31 Aug - men’s 56kg

For more information on disability sport in Leeds visit or call Leeds City Council’s disability sports officer Ross Bibby on 0113 395 0159 or email

The Yorkshire region’s activities around the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games are being co-ordinated by Yorkshire Gold which is supported by key stakeholders from across the region. For further information visit


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472