Deadline for York Secondary School applications nears

York HighWith all open days for York secondary schools now completed, parents are reminded that applications for secondary school places for September 2016 should be made before 31 October 2015.

Parents of children currently in Year 6 – the last year of primary school – should apply for a maximum of five schools and one preference should be the catchment school.

Applications can be made online at

All details and answers to frequently asked questions can be found at This guide, updated for 2016 admissions, contains information on school admissions and appeals processes as well as information on admissions statistics, oversubscription criteria and other information for parents and carers. Also online are details for service families and information on fair access.

Applicants will be advised of their allocated school on National Offer Day, 1 March 2016.

For more detailed information, please email: or call 01904 551 554.

Parents offered £1,300 in York

School childrenEligible residents could have up to £1,300 spent on helping their school-age child to do even better for this and for the next six academic years if they apply before January 2016.

As the new terms starts, applying for free school meals could not only mean a daily hot lunch if the child wants one, but the Government will give £1,300 every year for each eligible pupil at primary schools and £965 per year per student at secondary schools.

With an estimated 400 children eligible in York but whose parents are not claiming, this could mean that up to £380,000 of Government funding is being missed out on by York pupils and their schools.

The Pupil Premium, as it is known, is paid to the child’s school and is used to help them do even better with their schoolwork. It could mean extra help with homework, uniform vouchers or buying extra books.

The Pupil Premium will be paid whether or not the pupil takes the free meals. If they prefer, they can choose to have them on certain days or even if they prefer to take a packed lunch every day. School meals provide a tasty and nutritious choice of hot or cold lunch every day.

Successful applications made before the school census in January 2016 will mean that the school will get this funding every year for the next six academic years, but applications can be made at any time throughout the school year. Parents or carers can apply through the school or online at

While all children in school Reception and Years 1 and 2 currently receive free school meals, eligible parents and carers still need to apply for the Pupil Premium to be allocated to their child.

To qualify for free school meals, parents or carers must get one of the following income-related benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit combined with both a household income below £16,190, and not in receipt of any Working Tax Credit
  • Support under part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Guarantee Element of State Pension Credit.

Contributions-based benefits, including contribution-related Job Seekers Allowanceare not qualifying benefits. Parents or carers who have just started to work less than 16 hours a week, or immediately after employment has ceased for a temporary four week ‘run-on’ period only may be eligible.

For more information, to check eligibility or to apply, please go to or contact School Services at West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA or call 01904 551554 or email

New free childcare service launched in York

childcareParents of toddlers in York are being urged to check out whether they’re eligible for free childcare.

From 1 September about 600 two-year-olds in York – double last year’s figure – will be eligible for up to 15 hours of free childcare a week at a playgroup, day nursery or with a childminder as part of a national initiative.

Parents who earn no more than £16,190 a year and receive Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credit or Income Support could be eligible for a free childcare place.

Two-year-olds who are looked after by the council or have a Child Protection Plan automatically qualify for a place. And from 1 September children with special educational needs, those who have been adopted or who have a residency/special guardianship order will also qualify for a place.

The free places are available to children who are two-years-old and whose parents fulfil the criteria. The places can be taken up the term after the child’s second birthday.

Parents can apply on line at or to find out more call the Family Information Service on 01904 554444 or text ‘free place’ to 07624 802244.

The government was criticised yesterday by some childrens nurseries for trying to increase the amount of childcare provided without allocating sufficient funding

“Shine” activities make summer fun for young people in York

Shine logo

Shine is an exciting programme of events aimed at five to 18 year olds which runs thanks to a large number of organisers including the council, sports organisations, independent activity providers and local attractions. Many of the activities are free and booking in advance is not always necessary, offering a boredom-free summer throughout the city!

This year Shine includes over 190 different activities throughout the summer, offering all the favourite arts, sports, play sessions, parks and libraries activities.

  • Some of the more unusual events include designing a remote controlled robot or a joystick game and those with a sense of adventure can enjoy activities such as kayaking, outdoor climbing, wild camping and bushcraft skills.
  • Theatre, art, mosaics, dance, sewing and junk drumming with Trashbang are some of the arts activities helping to develop young creative skills, whilst sports activities from Total Sports,
  • York Knights Foundation and City of York Athletics are keeping fitness levels up throughout the summer.

Single number and calendar makes using Children’s Centres easier

Using York’s Children’s Centres has got easier, with just one telephone number to call and details of activities at all nine centres now online.

Parents and carers of children aged five and under in York can just click on  to find out when and where the activities, clinics or drop-in sessions they want to attend are running. Or, they can dial 01904 555252 to find the information they need or to speak to a member of the team.

The Children’s Centre teams welcome under fives, their parents and carers to an array of sessions run by a range of professionals, volunteers and parents.

Through the following link, expectant parents and carers of under fives can also register at their local children’s centre in order to access the activities taking place.


City’s new centre for deaf children under construction

York’s new centre specialising in teaching primary school-aged deaf children from York, has been commissioned by City of York Council and is under construction.

Hempland school

Hempland school

Currently, some deaf children and young people living in York have go to schools outside the city because there is no central provision in York where they can be taught and communicate together in English and British Sign Language. 

Following research, City of York Council is creating a new centre which will provide deaf education for local children in a primary school setting. Hempland Primary School was identified as having the right location, school environment and ethos to host a new centre for primary school-aged deaf children, the school has agreed to host the project. Deaf pupils have been on its roll for a number of years.

The Centre for Deaf Children at Hempland will cater for a core group of deaf children who will join the school roll. They will be taught the mainstream curriculum where appropriate, with support from specialist teachers of the deaf and teaching assistants. Deaf adults will also work as specialist support staff and, on a voluntary basis, to provide deaf role models. There will be opportunities for other professionals such as audiology/speech and language therapists, to provide support within school meaning the deaf children and their families will have a single, familiar location where a variety of appointments can be held.

The centre will also be an informal meeting point for deaf children, their families and teachers to build on the social and educational opportunities in the city with plans for early years groups, lunch clubs and Sing and Sign sessions which build on the social and educational opportunities in the city.


The school will reopen after the summer holiday as usual, when all external construction should be complete. The centre is due to open after half term in October 2015.

York Police act to prevent school holiday nuisance

A major new partnership operation in York will support vulnerable young people and clamp down on anti-social behaviour this summer holiday.

anti social behavior

Throughout the summer, Operation Liberate will see police joining forces with partner organisations to target areas where anti-social behaviour has been an issue in the past.

High-visibility patrols by officers, PCSOs and Special Constables will assess these areas and deal with any groups of young people. The operation is aimed to keep young people themselves feeling and being safe, providing them with constructive help and support.

Where appropriate, young people will be passed on to partner agencies and given the chance to discuss any issues they may have.  Meanwhile, parents will be contacted by the Youth Offending Team, who will provide them with relevant support and advice, and ask them to collect their child.

Operation Liberate is the first time such a large-scale initiative has been undertaken by North Yorkshire Police, and sees officers work closely with the Youth Offending Team, City of York Council, Lifeline, the Bridge House Sexual Assault Referral Centre, the NHS, the Rock Church, the Jack Raine Foundation and others.

Yorks children’s plan to be updated


A new Children and Young People’s Plan is currently being developed by City of York Council for 2016-2019 to set the direction for everyone working to improve the lives of children and young people.

As with previous Plans – the most recent was launched in 2013 – the views of children, young people, families and people working with and for children are a crucial element in deciding the new Plan’s priorities.

The council is asking all those affected by the new Plan to share their thoughts. This can be done via a 10-minute, anonymous online survey  At the end of the survey, participants can choose to enter into a prize draw for one of two £50 high street vouchers as thanks for taking part.

Young people are also invited to get involved by applying to join a group of young researchers. These young people aged16 years old and over are being recruited for six to eight weeks from the beginning of July. The young researchers will be trained, rewarded for their attendance and learn valuable skills. Please contact Tess Ellis on 01904 551249 or email: for more details.

Cllr Jenny Brooks, Executive Member for Education, Children and Young People, said: ““The success of previous Plans has lain in part in having been shaped by the people it will affect. I’d urge all children and young people and those who care for or work with them to have their say now about what matters to them and how we can make York the best place in which to live and grow up.”

The consultation will be open until 31 August and the new Children and Young People’s Plan it will help draw up will be launched in the new year.

York parents to get child sexual abuse and exploitation information

Parents and carers of children in York will get information and advice about how to spot signs of child sexual exploitation and abuse this month as part of a citywide awareness raising campaign.

Parents of pupils in year 6 (10-11 years old) will receive a letter and wallet-sized information card about the It’s not ok campaign, which was launched in May.

The campaign, which is run by City of York Safeguarding Children Board (a group of organisations in York which help support children and young people, including City of York Council, North Yorkshire Police and health partners) and the NSPCC, aims to raise awareness of child sexual abuse and exploitation amongst young people, parents and carers, childcare and safeguarding professionals, and the general public.

The year-long campaign, the first of its type for the NSPCC in England, has four distinct phases, with each targeting a different audience. Information, resources and campaign materials will all be available in one place – the new sexual abuse and sexual exploitation website for York:

Simon Westwood, Chair of the CYSCB/Dot Evansfrom the City of York Safeguarding Children Board, said: “Unfortunately sexual abuse and exploitation can happen anywhere and to anyone. By writing directly to parents and carers we hope that we can raise awareness about the issue, helping to protect their child or children. The website has a wide range of resources to help parents spot the signs of potential abuse, as well as providing support to anyone who has been abused.”

Helen Westerman, NSPCC campaigns manager, said: “It’s great to be working with City of York Safeguarding Children Board on this campaign. We know how difficult it can be to speak out about sexual abuse and exploitation and we hope that this campaign provides a voice to children and young people living in abusive situations.”

York children urged to change travel modes


The scheme aims to encourage pupils, parents and staff to travel to and from school using sustainable travel.

The Modeshift STARS scheme is an on-line tool showcasing green travel options that also recognises schools that are working hard not only to encourage parents and staff  to travel to school more sustainably but use sustainable transport as part of their curriculum activities.

The aim of the project is to increase the number of people walking and cycling to school, and reducing congestion during the school run making it safer for everyone.

Mode shift starsSchools taking part in Modeshift STARS work towards a national award which recognises the continuing efforts a school makes to increase sustainable travel by the whole school community.

Jonathan Green, Head Teacher for Archbishop of York Junior school said: “Modeshift STARS has brought our whole school community together. It is a brilliant scheme that has encourages us to really look positively at how we travel to school and how we take responsibility for our village.”

For more information on Modeshift STARS visit For more information on sustainable travel in York visit