York Music Centre expands

A new weekend session for children and young people has been added by York Music Centre to its programme at Millthorpe School.

York Music Centre, run by York Arts Education and part of City of York Council, will offer a variety of choirs, ensembles, orchestras and tuition sessions each Saturday morning.

The session has moved from Canon Lee School and allows York Music Centre to consolidate provision with its Wednesday evening session at Millthorpe School from the end of February.

From Saturday 28 February, from 9.15am, York Music Centre will offer group music-making opportunities to children and young people aged 3 to 18 of all abilities.
These include top level ensembles such as Concert Band, Big Band and the Symphony Orchestra, entry level groups like Overture (for 3-5 year olds), WOW Band (for any instrumental beginners), Young Voices which helps develop singing and listening skills and World of Rhythm, run by Billy Hickling from the internationally acclaimed STOMP!
An adult choir is also available for parents and friends who don’t want to miss out on the fun.

Woodthorpe school reports on “pupil premium” success

Disabled access arrangements also being scrutinised

A report from Woodthorpe primary school, indicating how they have used the LibDem inspired pupil premium funding initiative, forms part of the background papers for a meeting next week.

The school received a supplementary payment of over £130,000 last year which was used to raise the achievement levels of children from poorer backgrounds.

The Woodthorpe review  forms part of a wider report which looks at how the “attainment gap” can be closed across the whole of the City.

A special committee had been told  that, by the age of 19, the gap in attainment between disadvantaged young people (as defined by them being in receipt of Free School Meals at age 15) and their peers in York were among the widest anywhere in the country

Disabled access

The meeting will also receive a report on how access arrangements for people with disabilities can be improved particularly at leisure venues.


Ofsted publishes list of “failing” York schools

York schools reports published “on line”

Ofsted have made their inspection reports – and statistical tables for all schools – available “on line”.York High

The statistical sheet for York High can be viewed by clicking here.

Other York secondary schools can be accessed by clicking here

You can access Primary schools on the Ofsted web site here or, for west York schools, click the links below

Most York schools are performing well.

One exception was Canon Lee (which has already been subject to widespread media comment)

Five Primary schools were criticised in their last Ofsted reports

Nine York Primary schools were rated as “Outstanding” by Ofsted.

GCSE results

Meanwhile  Key Stage 4 School Performance Tables published today show that many York schools achieved excellent results and are well above national averages.

The percentage of pupils gaining five or more A*–C grades at GCSE (or equivalent), including English and Maths, is 62 per cent. This is 6 percentage points above the national average and places York in the top spot in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

The results place York in the top 14 per cent of Local Authorities in England. 

York is also in the top 10 per cent of Local Authorities in England for pupils achieving the ‘English Baccalaureate’, and in the top third for pupils achieving ‘at least expected rates’ of progress from the end of Key Stage 2.

Schools face overcrowding challenge in York

Return of the mobile classroom?

School place shortfall

The majority of primary schools are overcrowded according to new figures released by the York Council.

Although some new building works are planned, the position would be exacerbated if Labour’s “Big City” Local Plan gets the go ahead.

Developers are required to pay for additional school places, when providing more homes, permanent provision often lags some years behind new homes being occupied.

Some primary school sites – such as Our Lady’s on Windsor Garth – have been sold for redevelopment, adding to local pressures.

The position at York’s primary schools means that pressure on Secondary school places – only one of which is currently beyond capacity – will build over the next 5 years.

By 2019 an additional 635 secondary school desks will be required.

For many years Oaklands school (the predecessor of York High) operated with several mobile classrooms. Apart from the classrooms being remote from the main building, extra pupils placed pressure on communal facilities such as assembly halls.

Lack of spaces may further reduce the choice available to parents when they decide which school to send their children to.

New adult education classes launched in York

Chop Chop! It’s time to sign up

Chop chop! Fast and Easy Oriental Cookery is just one of the many new and exciting courses and workshops residents can enjoy as part of the spring programme of Adult Learning opportunities from City of York Council.

This year busy residents can take time out on the largest selection yet of one-off creative workshops which offer a convenient alternative to full courses. These teach skills in a single intensive session and allow the participant to take their project home at the end. Easter workshops in fused glass decorations and felt chicks are both new to the programme and are covered in just a few hours. Residents can also enjoy learning at their own pace, with flexible learning offered in beginners’ and advanced computer courses.

The council’s York Learning team has introduced some fantastic new courses to its new programme which pick up on latest trends, from designing and knitting Fair Isle patterns, introducing i-pad and Android technology, beginners’ Ballet Fit and planting creative herb pots. The programme, Learning 4 Everyone, has also catered for the high demand of traditionally popular interests too, boasting over 29 Pilates courses and 12 different painting and drawing courses.


Nearly 80% take up of free school meals in York

Nick Clegg launching the new scheme last year

Nick Clegg launching the new scheme last year

In York the take-up of universal infant free school meals in primary/infant schools, on school census day in October, was 77.9%.

The initiative announced by the coalition government 2 years ago has proved to be popular with many parents.

Now plans have been outlined which would see the scheme extended to other primary school children.

Castlegate closure – York Council backs down

Labour admits “Could have done better, should have gone further with consultation”.

The future of the Castlegate youth advisory centre has been the subject of further debate today.

A few days ago details of the number of young people using the centre over the last few years was published by the Council, together with the reason for their visit.

Customer numbers Castlegate

  • Around 20 people a day use the centre.
  • Over half the visits each year were connected with job searches.
  • The majority of the users are aged between 16 and 19.

After an unnecessary game of pass the parcel the Labour Cabinet have tonight caved in and agreed to reprieve the youth advice service in York.

A working group is being set up to consider options for the continuation of youth advice and help services. It will first consult widely

The Council is expecting to receive proposals in early January. They will be discussed at a YorOk Board on 12th January.

The responsible Cabinet member admitted

We need to make West Offices a better experience for visitors

Praise for York schools

89 per cent of York secondary schools and 87 per cent of the city’s primary schools are classed as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, according to the latest Ofsted inspections.

York High School

The figures will be presented to City of York Council’s Learning and Culture Overview and Scrutiny Committee later this week (19 November) together with other schools’ data for 2014. (more…)

Boost for children in York

Liberal Democrats have welcomed the news that nurseries, childminders and other early years providers in York are set for a £103,330 cash boost to help three and four-year-olds from disadvantaged families.

Lib Dems say the extra investment could help close York’s ‘attainment gap’ – the difference in education performance between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their peers.