Friday, 15 February 2013

Expert logistics company opens new distribution centre in Leeds

Home delivery specialist Expert Logistics has opened a new distribution depot at Garforth, Leeds, creating 70 new jobs as part of a £1.5M investment.

The new depot, located just half a mile from J47 of the M1 motorway and enjoying excellent transport links, will serve the whole of Yorkshire and the North East of England.

Expert Logistics provides a home delivery service for white goods and is part of DRL, the UK’s largest online kitchen appliance retailer. The new Leeds depot represents a further expansion by Expert Logistics following the opening of a purpose-built 360,000 sq ft warehouse and head office at Crewe in February 2012.

The 1.35 acre site was identified using Leeds City Council’s commercial property location service, set up to help companies that are expanding or relocating their operations to find new business premises in Leeds.

In the last twelve months alone, the service has been successful in assisting 35 companies to find new premises, in the process safeguarding over 500 jobs and helping to create 168 new jobs.

William Hill, Apollo Lighting and the Medical Protection Society have all used the service to identify new premises for their Leeds operations. Other businesses, including Teesside-based IT company Panoptech, Scottish craft beer company Brewdog and Irish environmental training agency Chevron UK, have used the service in setting up new operations in the city.

Expert Logistics also received support from the council’s Employment Leeds service, which assists employers to recruit new staff, helping the company to run assessment days to screen and interview job applicants for roles ranging from home delivery drivers to supervisors and admin support staff.

Dave Ashwell, Managing Director of Expert Logistics, said:
“Our move to Garforth, Leeds, enables us to grow our business, improve our service levels and client proposition and most importantly improve our efficiency. We are investing a lot of money, time and effort to ensure the environment is the best it can possibly be for our people.”

Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member for development and economy said:
“Given its geographical location at the centre of the UK and the national motorway network, Leeds is an ideal location for distribution and logistics-based businesses.

“The support we have been able to provide Expert Logistics in setting up their new depot in Leeds demonstrates the very real and practical help the council is able to provide to assist businesses expand and create jobs for the people of Leeds.”

“The council maintains a database of all commercial property available in the city, including offices, retail warehouse and manufacturing premises. It brings together information from over 80 commercial property agents and is the only place you can get a comprehensive picture of what’s available in terms of business premises and locations here in Leeds.”


Notes for Editors
1. Leeds City Council’s commercial property location service can be accessed online by visiting the ‘Business’ section of www.leeds.gov.uk

2. DRL was established in 2000 as an online white goods retailer and in 2009 acquired Expert Logistics; they now benefit from their own dedicated delivery fleet and employ over 420 people in their Bolton & Crewe based offices. The company’s client list includes Boots, Marks and Spencer, Next, House of Fraser, B&Q, Argos, Empire Direct, Screwfix and Shop Direct, as well as distribution clients such as Tesco. DRL also has its own retail websites, Appliances Online and Appliance Deals and customer review site, Appliance Reviews. In 2008 DRL was ranked 28th in The Times Fast Track 100 for sales growth and in 2011 the company placed 63rd in The Times list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For.

For further information contact Leeds City Council's press office at communicationsteam@leeds.gov.uk or call 0113-395 0244

Education in Leeds continues to get better

Educational attainment in Leeds is improving at all stages despite the city facing challenging times.

The annual review of the city’s education, which has been discussed by Leeds City Council’s executive board today, shows that the attainment levels of the city’s children have increased at each stage from early years to GCSE and attendance figures are the best ever.

However, the report also acknowledges that there are still areas for improvement but that Leeds is already tackling the challenges head on and continued improvement is expected.

Members of the executive board were shown that there are now many more good and outstanding schools in Leeds compared to last year and although there are 16 primary schools which fall below the government’s floor targets, this is half as many as in 2011.

The board also heard about the on-going success of the Leeds Education Challenge, which is an ambitious city wide campaign to raise standards and improve learning outcomes for Leeds pupils. The Leeds Education Challenge promotes challenge, partnership and innovation amongst all Leeds schools to that school leaders are able to access the support they need and ultimately raise the standard of education across the whole city.

Councillor Judith Blake executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“There have been some great improvements in many of our schools this year which are a tribute to the hard work of the city’s schools, pupils and their families to drive up standards.

“However we do recognise that overall standards are not high enough in some of our schools, but we are confident that through the Leeds Education Challenge we can continue to make a positive difference.

“We are already well positioned to address the main issues in this annual report and will continue to drive up education standards for children and young people in Leeds.”

The annual report shows that the number of children, who achieve a good level of development at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage, has increased by five per cent from last year and a 13 per cent increase over the last three years.

Primary schools in the city have also seen an improvement in achievement over the past year with 77 per cent of children at the end of primary school achieving the national standard of level four in both English and maths, this is compared to 73 per cent in 2011. Pupils in Leeds continue to make better progress in core subjects than that seen nationally. In English, 92 per cent of Leeds pupils made expected progress in 2012, above the national figure of 89 per cent. In maths, 89 per cent of Leeds pupils made the expected two levels of progress between ages above that seen nationally, which was 87 per cent.

Leeds pupils also achieved better GCSE results than ever before despite the unfair grading of English GCSEs which resulted in many Leeds pupils being downgraded from a ‘C’ to a ‘D’. Even with this issue the annual reports shows further improvement in the proportion of Leeds young people achieving five of more A* to C grades including English and Maths GCSE, with 54% reaching this level. The proportion of young people achieving five A* to C grades in any subject rose to over 83.7%. Over four out of five Leeds young people now reach this level, four years ago it was just over three out of five.

The overall picture for Key Stage 5 (post 16) is also positive, with the percentage of students achieving two or more passes continuing to rise. In 2012 96.2% of students achieved this benchmark, up 1.6% on last year. However, Leeds remains well below the national average for high achieving students with only 5.7% achieving 3 of more A* to A grades.

Attendance in Leeds has continued to get better with an improvement of 1.1%, which is over double the improvement in 2010/11. Both authorised and unauthorised absences reduced in 2012 as did the number of persistently absent pupils. However Leeds is still higher than the national average for absence levels.

The number of permanent exclusions also reduced in both primary and secondary schools in 2012.

The report also demonstrates the recognition from Ofsted that many schools in Leeds are providing quality education. Overall the proportion of good or outstanding schools has increased at both secondary and primary level over the past year.

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

Further primary school expansions on the cards

Senior Leeds councillors have been discussing proposals to create more primary school places to meet the ever increasing demand across the city.

At today’s meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board (15 February) members gave the go-ahead for a public consultation on the expansion of six primary schools, to help meet the pressure for more school places in Leeds. The board also approved a consultation to expand the city’s provision of education for children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.

At the same meeting the board also authorised investing £9.4 million to expand and rebuild Morley Newlands primary school.

These proposals are all part of an on-going city-wide school expansion programme which has been in place since 2009. Through this programme the council has already approved 830 new reception places since 2009, including two new primary schools, notices are being published on another 120 places, and an additional 98 places are subject to consultation

The increasing birth rate, along with people moving into the city, and cross-border movement between neighbouring authorities means there are still ongoing pressures the council must to address over the coming years. There is also the additional pressure of new housing developments which could see 70,000 new homes being built in the city between now and 2026.

The executive board approved public consultations on the following proposals:
• To expand Allerton Bywater primary school from 210 pupils to 420, with an increase in the admission number from 30 to 60;
• To expand Asquith primary school from 210 pupils to 420, with an increase in the admission number from 30 to 60;
• To expand St. Francis Catholic primary school, Morley, from a capacity of 154 pupils to 210, with an increase in the admission number from 22 to 30;
• To expand East Ardsley primary school from 315 pupils to 420 with an increase in the admission number from 45 to 60;
• To expand Robin Hood primary school from 315 pupils to 420 with an increase in the admission number from 45 to 60, and;
• To lower the age range of Hollybush primary school from 5 – 11 to 3 – 11.

If given the go ahead, each expansion would take place from September 2014. Solutions have already been explored with each school to put in place interim measures to meet the demand expected in September 2013.

The consultations on the school expansions will run from 25 February to 29 March 2013. The Hollybush proposal seeks to formalise arrangements of nursery provision which previously was managed by the council but since 2011 has been managed by the school – the consultation on this would end on 12 April 2012.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children’s services said:
“The increased demand for primary school places means we have to reassess the size of certain schools to ensure there will be places available to every child.

“Before making these decisions we must for the views of the public to gauge opinion as well as consulting with head teachers and governors at the schools involved. These expansions will ensure that children in these areas of Leeds will have the best possible start to their learning.”

The executive board also agreed to invest £9.4 million on a new building at Morley Newlands primary school, which follows approval to expand the school to a maximum capacity of 630 pupils in May 2012. The new school is to be built on the existing playing fields to allow the existing school to continue to operate whilst the building work takes place. The new school building is expected to be ready for September 2014.


In addition to the provision of primary school places, Leeds City Council has also been assessing whether there are enough places for children who have significant behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD). Demographic changes, and an increase in children being assessed as having BESD needs, means Leeds needs more specialist places for these children.

In order to meet these needs, the executive board has approved two consultations. The first to expand the capacity of the BESD specialist inclusive learning centre from 150 pupils to 230, and the second to expand the North East Specialist Inclusive Learning Centre (Oakwood Lane) BESD provision from 30 pupils to 50 pupils, with effect from January 2014.

Cllr Blake added:
“It is vital we look at how we can improve the education provision for children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties to help improve their attainment, attendance and progress. Through an expanded BESD service, we would be able to offer a personalised programme of learning for each child.”

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