Wednesday, 13 February 2013

New affordable housing comes to Cross Green

Construction has started on a new affordable housing development in Cross Green.

Chevin Housing Association Ltd, a member of the Together Housing Group working in partnership with Leeds City Council have commenced development of the 21 new affordable homes in Cross Green.

The development, on a former cleared housing site in the St Hildas area of Cross Green, will be made up of 13 two bedroom and 8 three bedroom houses which, once completed, will be allocated to people from the Leeds Housing register. It is expected that the scheme will be completed in Autumn 2013

The houses are designed to achieve code for sustainable homes level 3, which includes high levels of thermal insulation, along with the use of enhanced construction details will ensure that lost energy will be kept to a minimum. In addition all houses will have energy efficient lighting and boilers with zone control ensuring householders will benefit from lower fuel bills.

Chevin Housing Association and Leeds City Council have also worked closely with local residents and ward members to ensure that a section of the site will be improved as a new community open space.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member for development and the economy said:

“It is great to see Chevin HA building new affordable homes in Cross Green and working closely with the local community to ensure benefits to the area are maintained.

“The new homes will continue to support the council in achieving its aim of increasing the number of affordable homes for the city in addition to providing regeneration benefits for the local community.”

Chevin Housing Association managing director, Amanda Garrard said:

“We’re delighted to have begun work on such a fantastic development.”
“The Together Housing Group is building new properties all over the north of England as part of our development programme and this is another example of our commitment to provide energy efficient, affordable housing.”

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

City of Leeds divers make jump-start to 2013

Caption: Team GB diver and child friendly Leeds ambassador Alicia Blagg was in fine form in Plymouth

The City of Leeds diving stars began the year in fine style with an impressive showing at the British Gas Diving Championships at the weekend.

Team GB Olympians Jack Laugher, Alicia Blagg and Rebecca Gallantree all claimed gold medals at the first national event of the season in Plymouth, while youngsters Lois Toulson, Lydia Rosenthall and Matty Lee all put in fine performances to mark themselves down as rising stars of the future.

Picking up from where he left off at the FINA World Junior Diving Championships in Adelaide in October when he claimed two titles, 18-year-old Jack Laugher from Harrogate won the men’s 3-metre individual and came second in the 1m event.

With City of Leeds clubmate Hannah Starling unable to compete in Plymouth due to a minor injury, 16-year-old Alicia Blagg from Woodlesford took centre stage, adding to her world junior silver medal in Australia with victory in the women’s 1m individual event.

Alicia also teamed up with fellow City of Leeds diver Rebecca Gallantree in the women’s 3m synchronised event to make it a winning double, while the pair finished second and third respectively in the women’s 3m individual.

Becky Gallantree again showed her consistency by partnering 22-year-old clubmate Jenny Cowen to second place in the women’s 10m synchro, while 17-year-old Chapel Allerton diver Yona Knight-Wisdom representing Jamaica won gold with City of Leeds’ Matthew Roberts in the men’s 3m synchro event.

With all eyes on Team GB superstar Tom Daley who secured victory in the men’s 10m individual, 19-year-old James Denny from Leeds impressed in finishing second to claim silver.

The Plymouth event was also notable for the emergence of some of the next generation of City of Leeds divers at national level.

In her first senior national competition, 13-year-old Lois Toulson put in a great showing to progress through the preliminaries and qualify for the finals of all three events she entered.

A year older at 14, both Lydia Rosenthall from Garforth (fourth and fifth-place finishes) and Matty Lee from Moortown (8th in men’s 1m preliminary) also performed well despite their inexperience at senior level.

The next competitive outings for Alicia Blagg and Hannah Starling (women’s 3m synchro) and Becky Gallantree and Jenny Cowen (women’s 10m synchro) will be in the elite FINA Diving World Series events in China and Dubai next month.

All of the City of Leeds divers train at the Aquatics Centre at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Leeds as part of Leeds City Council’s diving training scheme, which is headed by senior diving coach Adrian Hinchliffe and former world champion Edwin Jongejans.

Senior diving coach Adrian Hinchliffe said:

“It was another good performance by the team at the nationals, with Jack, Alicia and Blagg all diving well and for Jack and Alicia you can see how much more confident they are after the experiences of the Olympic Games and the junior world championships.

“Lois also stood out by reaching all of her finals in her first competition at senior national level which is a fantastic achievement and we look to seeing her and all the other City of Leeds divers continuing to develop and enjoy another very successful year.”

Notes to editors:
Leeds City Council’s diving training scheme is managed by Adrian Hinchliffe and has been running since 1986. The scheme provides opportunities in the sport of diving for all ages and from recreational to elite level. In total there are over 300 people taking part in the scheme on a daily and weekly basis, making it one of the biggest diving programmes in Britain.

For further information about the scheme contact Adrian Hinchliffe at, Edwin Jongejans at or call 0113 395 7363.

Leeds-born Team GB divers Alicia Blagg and Hannah Starling are official ambassadors for child friendly Leeds, the ambition to make Leeds the best city for children and young people to thrive and look forward to a brighter future. For more information go to


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472

Educational alliance right to bring case, judge rules, but GCSE English results will not be overturned

The thousands of students who missed out on a grade C in GCSE English because of last summer’s grading fiasco will not have their papers regraded, a judge ruled today (Wednesday 13 February).

Following a three-day court hearing in December, Lord Justice Elias today ruled Ofqual had done the best it could with a qualification which was structured unfairly and, though the alliance was right to bring the case, grades would not be revised.

The judicial review was brought before the courts by an unprecedented educational alliance, which was drawn together because of the injustices in last summer’s marking. The shift in boundaries last summer meant young people who sat GCSE English in the summer needed more marks to get a C than those who did the exam in January.

Councillor Judith Blake, deputy leader of Leeds City Council with responsibility for children’s services said:
“I am bitterly disappointed in this judgement. Thousands of young people’s futures have been badly affected by this and now it seems their plight has been ignored.

“Although Lord Justice Elias acknowledged that we were right to raise the judicial review, we feel it is totally unreasonable to blame the modular system for these unfair results.

“Our legal challenge was thorough and showed clearly the unfairness of the exam boards’ decision to change the GCSE grade boundaries mid-year and the devastating impact this has had on thousands of young people across the country.

“It is, therefore, totally unsatisfactory that this has been ignored and the young people will not be granted the results they worked hard to achieve and would have achieved had their exams been graded, like many thousands of other students, earlier in the year or in the previous year.

“Many young people have already missed out on apprenticeships and college courses, and have been forced into making decisions about their education and future because of this mistake.

“We were only able to get to this stage because of the collaboration between students themselves and their families, head teachers, local authorities and professional bodies across the country who decided to stand up for the young people who have been treated so unfairly. So it is especially disappointing that the result is not what we had hoped for.

“We will now be seeking legal advice and discussing with the other members of the consortium whether we will appeal against this decision.”

Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock said:
“This is a very frustrating outcome.

“We note that the judge accepted that the case exposed unfairness and that it was right that this was properly investigated in the court room. But that is no consolation for the thousands of students up and down the country who will have to continue to live with the consequences of this unfairness. We wish them every success in the future.”

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said:
“We are very disappointed with this decision.

“Grading decisions were unfair and an injustice was done to many thousands of pupils. While boundaries have not been restored, we hope this action will demonstrate to Ofqual and the exam boards that they should not act like this again.

“We are pleased the judge said we were right to bring the case, but nevertheless it is very sad not to be able to conclude the legal challenge with good news.

“As the judge acknowledged, the system was so flawed that the regulator had no choice but to be unfair to some group of students. Their choice was the lesser of two evils. The fact that a system cannot be managed without unfairness is a strong indictment. Let's have an end to political meddling in exams from any part of the political spectrum, meddling which only sets up these failures.”

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the largest teachers’ union, said:
“This is a very disappointing outcome. It is very clear to the NUT and the other organisations who brought this action that a great injustice has been done.

“An estimated 10,000 students who took their English GCSE exam in June 2012 missed out on a C grade as a result of the decisions by the examination boards. These students had achieved exactly the same standard as their classmates who were awarded a C grade just a few months earlier.

“Parents, pupils and teachers will feel very let down.”

Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said:
“Naturally we’re very disappointed with the outcome. This is a lengthy judgment and we are currently considering it along with our fellow claimants and legal team. We still believe that thousands of young people had their exams unfairly downgraded last June in order to compensate for mistakes made earlier in the year.

“This was never about us, Ofqual or the awarding bodies. This is about the thousands of young people whose futures have been compromised by errors made by others.”

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