Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Reception to honour retiring head teachers

The service and dedication of head teachers who have clocked up over 300 years’ service between them are to be honoured at a special reception next week.

Eleven head teachers from schools across Leeds retired at the end of the summer term, bringing to an end distinguished teaching careers and long-term associations with their current schools and schools across Leeds.

Leeds City Council’s children’s services has organised a reception to mark the occasion and say thank you for their service to the children and young people of the city. The reception will take place at Leeds Civic Hall on Thursday 20 December at 12.30. The head teachers will receive a gift and a certificate.

**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********
Media are invited to attend the reception to mark the head teachers’ retirement at Leeds Civic Hall on Thursday 20 December at 12.30pm. Photography and interviews will be available.
Please call 0113 2474713 to confirm attendance.
**********MEDIA OPPORTUNITY**********

The retiring Head Teachers are: Elizabeth Cavadino, St Urban’s Catholic Primary; John Daulby, John Smeaton Community College; David Foley, Benton Park High ; Edwina Kus, Thorpe Primary; Julia Norton, Wigton Moor Primary; Michael Rossiter, Woodlesford Primary; Marilyn Steel, John Smeaton Community College; Duncan Walsh, St James C of E Primary, Ken Hall, Priesthorpe Specialist Sports College; Lynda Johnson, Bruntcliffe High, and; Stuart Hemingway Ralph Thorsby High .

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member for children’s services at Leeds City Council, said:
“Our head teachers’ passion, energy and commitment makes a real difference to children, young people, their families and their local communities and without their positive influence we would not be able to become the Child Friendly City which we strive to be.

“Head teachers play a vital role in their schools and wider communities. They help to shape the lives and learning of their pupils and lead and inspire their colleagues. Over the years, these Head Teachers will have made lasting impressions on thousands of children and young people and I wish them the very best for the future.”

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

Surf while you shop as Briggate launches free Wi-Fi

Briggate becomes one of the first city centre retail areas in the country to offer free Wi-Fi from tomorrow, allowing Leeds Christmas visitors to surf while they shop.

The city’s main shopping street will offer visitors free internet access thanks to a collaboration between Leeds City Council and Virgin Media Business. And unlike some public arrangements where it is only free for the first quarter or half hour, the Leeds Free Wi-Fi will remain free for as long as the user is connected.

It will not just be the Christmas retail trade that will benefit as the scheme is part of a permanent push to enable easy online access to residents, visitors and businesses in Leeds. It will be available on Briggate from Wednesday 19 December, followed by installation in Millennium Square in early 2013.

Where: Briggate, outside the entrance to the Victoria Quarter
When: Wednesday 19 December, 2pm
Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan and Councillor Neil Walshaw, lead member for infrastructure and planning, will join Kevin Baughan, Virgin Media Business’s director of wireless and Dr Adam Beaumont, CEO of AQL, who are building a new £43 million data centre in Leeds, along with David Laycock, chair of the Leeds Retail Association, to live tweet from the launch of the free Briggate Wi-Fi.
Contact Donna Cox (details below) for further information.

The service will be run by Virgin Media Business under an agreement that ensures there is no cost or risk to the council and has put in place the infrastructure for the Wi-Fi connectivity in conjunction with its partner, Global Reach Technology.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for development and the economy, Leeds City Council, said:
“Leeds is going to be one of the first places in the country to have a free city centre Wi-Fi service and it will be a fantastic asset to shoppers and a tremendous boost to businesses.

“This is an opportunity to maintain and improve our competitive edge, attract investment and create employment. Leeds is leading the way in ensuring that our digital infrastructure is in place to make the most of future developments and helping push forward our ambition to be the best city to live in, invest in and visit in the UK.”

Kevin Baughan, director of wireless, Virgin Media Business, commented:

“We’re extremely proud to be providing the network that’s delivering super-fast Wi-Fi to shoppers and businesses on Briggate. The technology is not only benefitting citizens now; we’re working with the city council to ensure it’s used to prepare Leeds for the future. These services provide a sustainable and future-proof boost to connectivity in Leeds, helping the city prepare to for the next-generation of data-hungry tablets and smartphone devices.

“A lot of people might have heard government officials discussing the idea of filling the UK with ‘super-connected’ cities. Leeds is among the first to be taking real steps towards unlocking the potential that new technology has to offer, in order to deliver exciting mobile services to its citizens.”

The high performance Wi-Fi service will be free for anybody to use and is operated for Virgin Media Business by its partner Global Reach Communications Ltd, powered by Virgin Media’s fibre network. Further locations are being looked at in the city centre over the coming year.

People wishing to use the free Wi-Fi will be able to set smartphones, tablets or laptops to locate the ‘Leeds Free Wi-Fi’ service and then follow a simple registration process.

The development paves the way for a potentially expanding Wi-Fi network and also the deployment of next generation 3G and ultimately 4G ‘small cell’ wireless networks, which will transform mobile access and meet the growing use of smartphones and tablets in the city.

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335
email: donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk


Council closes buildings with low demand over the festive period

The council is trialling a festive shutdown of buildings that are in low or no demand over the Christmas period as one of the ways of looking to save money.

Non-essential services and those with very low demand will be closed so as to reduce energy and building costs from midnight 23 December to midnight 1 January 2013.

Services with high demand over this period will not be closed and staff will be in place to ensure services are maintained. The refuse collection, street cleansing and traffic management services will not be affected.

Child protection remains a priority and there will be sufficient social work staff in place to deal with all enquiries and new referrals. Similarly the majority of Adult Social Care services will also remain open.

For a more detailed list of affected services in your area visit www.leeds.gov.uk and click through to the specific service page.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“We have had detailed conversations with the trade unions to agree a change to the open hours of some council services between Christmas and the New Year.

“This is to ensure services are still being provided whilst enabling the council to save public money by closing some buildings which are not used or are in low demand over this period. Rest assured although buildings are closed, the council is still contactable and will be well equipped if an emergency situation occurs.

“Combined with reduced energy and building costs during the festive period this measure will save us public money - money that can be diverted to frontline services.

“We will make sure that all affected service users are being contacted to inform them of any relevant changes and alternative arrangements, and I would suggest visiting the website if anyone needs any further information.”


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk