Tag Archive: city council

City primary school unveils £3million extension

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A Leicester primary school is celebrating its £3million extension project with an official opening event.

Wolsey House Primary School, in Beaumont Leys Lane, has been extended with six new classrooms, plus a new classroom for reception pupils and a new, larger staff room.

The improvements mean the school will be able to increase its intake by up to 210 more pupils, by having three classes in each school year.

The new extension offers flexible space for learning and modern facilities for children and staff at the school. It was commissioned by Leicester City Council, with work carried out by contractors Wates Construction.

Helen King, headteacher of Wolsey House Primary, said: “We feel fortunate to be part of the Leicester city primary schools’ expansion programme. The investment in the school has enhanced the learning environment for the children and families with access to a super new building for Key Stage 1. We have already benefited from the building and staff and children have settled in quickly.”

Jenny McHugh, chair of governors, added: "This new environment is hugely positive for our school and has clearly made a really big difference to the staff and children here at Wolsey House.”

The opening event will include a whole-school assembly with singing from the school choir, plus a tour of the new building for invited guests.

Cllr Sarah Russell, assistant city mayor responsible for children, young people and schools, said: “This extension provides fantastic new facilities for Wolsey House. It’s also allowed the school to expand, which is great news. I’m very pleased to see such a successful project being so well used by all of the staff and children here.”

John Carlin from Wates Construction Midlands added: “We were very pleased to work on this project, during which we set up a Leicestershire-based supply chain, boosting the local economy.

“We have a long-standing presence in the region, which has seen us lead on more than 70 school projects over the past five years.”

The city council is expanding and extending both primary and secondary schools across the city to create more pupil places and meet demand.

More than 1,000 additional places were created across all primary year groups for 2016/17 and more are currently being planned for the 2017/18 academic year.

Bookbenches? What a novel idea! Campaign in Manchester aims to inspire a city of readers

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BOOKWORMS: Manchester kids with an imagination-sparking Bookbench they have designed, inspired by Roald Dahl's 'The Enormous Crocodile' (Pic cred: Mark Waugh)

BOOKWORMS: Manchester kids with an imagination-sparking Bookbench they have designed, inspired by Roald Dahl's 'The Enormous Crocodile' (Pic cred: Mark Waugh)

As part of Manchester City Council's Read Manchester campaign with the National Literacy Trust, benches shaped like open books will be decorated by local schools and community groups, and displayed in public venues to help spark the city’s interest in reading.

The year-long Read Manchester campaign was launched back in June this year in partnership with the National Literacy Trust.

An imaginative initiative, it wasn’t long before the campaign won the backing of Coronation Street actress Jennie McAlpine, who joined youngsters at the launch in Manchester Central Library to see one of the BookBenches for herself.

The announcement comes as research conducted at the start of the campaign shows that two thirds of pupils in Manchester enjoy reading, but also highlights room for improvement - both in reading habits and attitudes.

The survey of over 5,000 eight to 18-year-olds from 60 schools found that just 38.7 per cent of children and young people in Manchester read outside class every day and almost a third only read when they have to.

The report, Children and Young People’s Reading in Manchester in 2016, also shows that there is a particular need to engage boys and older pupils in reading.

The BookBench project is part of the year-long programme of Read Manchester activities set to encourage more children and adults across the city to enjoy reading and to raise awareness of the power of reading to transform lives.

After being decorated with designs inspired by books, novels, comics and poems, the BookBenches will be displayed in venues throughout Manchester, including leisure and shopping centres as well as in theatres, museums and art galleries. Families will able to follow a trail to discover the benches and take part in a series of fun activities and events around them.

National Literacy Trust research also shows the important impact that reading for pleasure can have on children and young people’s attainment.

Pupils who enjoy reading very much are three times more likely to read above the level expected for their age, compared to those who don’t enjoy reading at all.

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust said: “While it is extremely positive to see that two thirds of Manchester pupils enjoy reading, the survey has highlighted a need to get more children reading outside the classroom and to close the gap between boys’ and girls’ reading.

“Decorating BookBenches with scenes and characters from stories is a great way to inspire children to read more widely, while trails and events around the BookBenches will take reading out of the classroom into the community and encourage families to talk about and enjoy books.”  

Visit for a calendar of events and more information about the campaign.

Sights set on the big screen: Council funded association celebrates International Day of Older People

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FILM NIGHT: Debbani Ghosh wanted ‘to do something different’ for the Bengali community of Leeds, so has decided to host a film night

FILM NIGHT: Debbani Ghosh wanted ‘to do something different’ for the Bengali community of Leeds, so has decided to host a film night

On Saturday 22nd October, the Association of Blind Asians – funded by Leeds City Council - will celebrate the International Day of Older People.

And what better way to do it than a film night, complete with popcorn, at a local community centre.

Manager of the Association of Blind Asians, Debbani Ghosh, said: “We wanted to do something different.

“I decided to do a movie night for people in the community as it is something different for residents. We’re doing a Bengali movie night to bring isolated people who are in their later lives together.”

So far, Debbani has had very positive feedback and she has already booked out the Frederick Hurdle Day Centre on Reginald Terrace for the occasion.

“The council have been very supportive. We’ve ordered some food and it’s the first time this has happened.”

She added: “It’s not going to be a huge screen and the funding is only for 25 people. However, if we see that people are interested in it, we’ll continue it in the long term.”

The reason for the get together is to talk about mental health and culture whilst enjoying a classic film at the same time to open up dialogue between attendees.

“Movies impact mental health in a positive  way because they teach you how to get over hurdles,” Debbani said.

“The film we have picked is called ‘Belaseshe’ which means ‘at the end of the day’ in Bengali.”

Debbani explained that there’s a realisation in the film that people support each other and everyone has different skills and strengths.

“Unfortunately, we only have room for 25 people.” Debbani said.

“I’m from the Bengali community and I thought that there’s nothing happening for this particular community.

“Everyone in attendance on the day will have some form of sight issue. We are inviting our members down and outsiders so everyone can feel connected into the community.”

To find out more, ring the ABA office on 0113 210 3347.

Cabbies told to ‘improve communication’

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Shabir Ahmed

APPROVED: Shabir Ahmed (right), co-chairman of the Keighley and Bradford Taxi Driver’s Association, said he approves the new rulings but wants to see more help given to cabbies from local authorities

Conversation tests welcomed by association chief

Drivers across Bradford are being told they will face some extra English lessons this year if their linguistic skills don’t pass the grade with the city council.

The announcement was made in a report released earlier this month, with Bradford Council proposing tougher tests to ensure the city’s cabbies are able to hold conversations with their passengers.

Previous rules indicated that a would-be cabbie must be able read a paragraph from a book and write a receipt for a journey. However, the latest rulings will replace the old technique with a conversation exam.

A Council report says possible questions could include: ‘What do you think of the weather recently?’, ‘Where did you take your last customer?’ or ‘How do you get from A to B?’.

The report adds that ‘the answers are not the focus, the focus is to ensure the applicant understands English and has contributed to a communication in English at a basic level.’

Shabir Ahmed, of the Keighley and Bradford Taxi Driver’s Association, praised the new rulings and believed communication was important in the trade.

“I think no cabbie or taxi driver has ever been against this sort of test but the council has just never introduced it,” he said.

“Nearly every new driver can fluently speak English now because it is important for their job. This rule should have been brought in around 20 years ago along with legislation for dress codes in my opinion but those in charge are only just catching up now.”

Mr Ahmed added that, despite his backing of the changes in English tests, he would rather see the council helping drivers than adding further legislations.

Referring to the £30,000 surplus that Bradford’s taxi and private hire licensing service made for the period of 2013/14, he continued: “It costs each of us £6 to get our taxi licensed.

“It costs the council nothing to check them with the DVLA so every penny of that is profit. It may not sound like a lot of money but when you consider the number of drivers it is clear that we are being overcharged.”

The authority has confirmed plans to lower many of its fees in the near future whilst a decision as to whether the new English tests will be brought in, will be made later this week.