Appeal for witnesses following an assault in Westfield play park

North Yorkshire Police is appealing for witnesses and information about a assault that occurred in the park next to Westfield Primary Community School in Acomb.

It happened at approximately 5pm on Wednesday 7 April when two boys, aged 12 and 11 years-old , are believed to have been assaulted by a group of youths aged between about 12-16.

The two victims did not receive any injuries. We are requesting the public’s assistance to help establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2, and ask for Peter Maw. You can also email

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Please quote the North Yorkshire Police reference number 12210093469.

York families benefit from Easter holiday activity programme

Families across the city will have access to a holiday activity programme this Easter.

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The programme is being funded through the government’s Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF), which provides healthy food and activities to targeted children.

The Easter sessions, which will be held at a number of schools in York, will be used as pilots, with plans to roll the scheme out to more children during the summer holidays.

Cllr Keith Orrell, City of York Council’s Executive member for Children, Young People and Education, said: “School holidays can be a difficult time for some families, particularly with increased food and childcare costs.

“The Easter break marks the first time York has received HAF funding and I hope that this will be the start of a much bigger programme of targeted, enriching activities and healthy food for children and young people, building on the fantastic work that is already taking place across the city.”

Children and young people who are eligible to take part in the programme will be contacted directly by their school.

93 per cent of young people get their first choice of secondary school in York

Secondary school admission figures for entry in September 2021 reveal that 93 per cent of York children – 1793 – have been allocated their first preference of school.

This is an increase of 4.4 per cent on last year’s figures.

City of York Council’s figures published today (1 March) show that 98.2 per cent of pupils got one of their five preferences, an increase of 1.9 per cent on last year’s figures.

Parents who applied online can find out where their child has been allocated a place by logging into their parent portal account today via Parents who made written applications will receive a letter confirming their admission arrangements. Anyone who didn’t receive their first choice of school will also receive written information.

This year’s admissions figures, compared with last years are outlined below:

Applied Online193199.2184496.0

34 pupils didn’t get any of their preferences. These were largely made up of parents or carers who did not apply for their catchment school, despite being advised to do so, preferring to apply for schools a considerable distance from their home.

The total size of the cohort starting school in September 2021 is 1921 pupils, compared to 1947 last year.

Councillor Keith Orrell, Executive Member for Education, Children and Young People, said:

“I’m delighted that so many young people will be able to attend their first choice of secondary school this year.

“I know it’s been an incredibly difficult time over the last few months and I hope that knowing their plans for September will help young people start to look to the future.

“I wish all those starting a new school in September the best of luck with the next phase of their learning journey.”

Any parent whose children may be eligible for free school meals – one of a number of benefits that come with applying for the pupil premium – should apply through their online account at

Coronavirus York updates; 13th February 2021


One additional hospital death announced today. It occurred on Thursday

Test results

TWENTY THREE additional positive test results announced today. Brings the cumulative number of cases in the City to 11,542.

Rate /100k population figure has reduced to 109.68

The infection rate in York continues to fall more quickly than in other parts of the country


For the first time since 16th December a neighbourhood (South Bank/Dringhouses) in York has recorded fewer than 3 infections.

The area with the highest number of cases in now Osbaldwick


Over 2 million vaccinations have now been completed in the Yorkshire region


There are currently 133 COVID-19 patients being treated by the York Hospital Trust.

15 patients are in intensive care


4967 PCR coronavirus test were conducted during the week ending 8th February.

The positivity rate was 5.2%

1074 lateral flow tests were conducted on 12th February

York families urged to ‘stay safe’ this half term

York’s public health chiefs are urging residents to ‘stay safe’ over the coming week, as children and young people across the city start their half term holidays.

The week will mark a welcome break for many parents and carers who have been home schooling, but also presents extra challenges in keeping children entertained within the lockdown restrictions.
The break comes as York’s seven day rate continues to fall:

  • The latest official “validated” rate of new Covid cases per 100,000 of population for the period 31.1.21 to 6.2.21 was 134.8
  • York is currently ranked 25th out of 149 Upper Tier Local Authorities (UTLAs) in England with a rank of 1, indicating the lowest 7 day rate.
  • As at 8.2.21, the latest 7 day positivity rate in York (Pillar 2 PCR tests only) was 5.4%. The national and regional averages are 7.1% and 7.6% respectively.
  • As at 10.2.21, 45,596 CYC residents have received the first dose and 1,049 had received both doses.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:

I know that many parents and carers will be glad of a break this week after their hard work homeschooling over the last half term.

“There are lots of activities that parents can do to keep their children active over the holiday period, but it’s vitally important that we all continue to follow the current national restrictions. The efforts we are all making a real difference, however we still need to keep going.

“With vaccinations continuing to be carried out at pace in York, there is light at the end of the tunnel and we must all keep up our efforts to fight the spread of the virus.”

Thousands of frontline workers are continuing to support York’s efforts against the virus by getting regular symptom free testing.

The city now has three sites offering the testing to residents, workers, students and staff who are eligible. More information about symptom free testing is available online.

York residents aged 70 or over who haven’t yet received their covid-19 vaccination can also now support the city’s fight against covid-19 by arranging a vaccination appointment.

Until now, the NHS asked people not to contact them about their COVID vaccination and wait until they are approached. This remains the case for most people, but local NHS services are encouraging people in priority cohorts 1-4 (over 70s and those on the shielded patient list) to contact the NHS to book their appointment to ensure everyone in this group is offered the vaccine by mid-February.

Eligible residents can book their appointment by contacting the national booking service online. Those who cannot do it online can call a free 119 number, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week. The national system allows patients to pick a convenient location and time.

Sharon Stoltz, City of York Council’s Director of Public Health, said:

I would urge anyone aged 70 or over who hasn’t yet had their vaccination to make an appointment through the national booking service.

“The uptake of the vaccine so far in the city has been fantastic and making sure as many York residents as possible are vaccinated is one way we can continue to fight the virus and support our local NHS services.

“If you aren’t in one of the priority groups, please wait to be contacted, everyone will get the chance to book an appointment at the right time.

“We can all work together too by looking out for family and friends, particularly during this cold weather, and following the basic rules of regular hand washing, wearing of face coverings in public spaces when 2 metre social distancing is not possible and isolating at home if you have symptoms or have been asked to do so by NHS Test and Trace or our local contact tracing service.

“Whilst the fall in cases is encouraging we can’t let our guard down yet. There are still more people in hospital than the first peak and sadly we have seen a number of deaths in recent weeks.

“This virus isn’t relenting but our efforts and the incredible vaccine rollout is helping to stop the spread and offer real hope that things will get better. Thank you to everyone for their efforts, let’s keep going.”

The council’s Coronavirus helpline offers support including with food, essentials or someone to speak to. Anyone needing help can call 01904 551550 or email

There are lots of school holiday ideas and resources available online. Check out York Mumbler and Little Vikings for local resources.

Coronavirus York updates; 1st February 2021


SIX additional hospital deaths have been announced today.

They bring the cumulative total number of fatalities at the York and Scarborough hospitals up to 283 since the start of the second wave of infections.

Test Results

FORTY SEVEN (47) additional positive test results announced today. Brings the cumulative case total to 11,136.

Rate /100k population has now reduced to 205.12. Trending to fall below the 200 case benchmark tomorrow.

The case rate in York continues to reduce more quickly than is being seen in other parts of the country


There are now three neighbourhoods with a case rate of below 100. They are Dunnington/Elvington/Wheldrake (6 cases), the City Centre (12 cases) and Poppleton/Rufforth/Askhams (5 cases).

Haxby remains the only area with a rate over 400 (400.4 with 23 cases).



Nationwide 9,296,367 people have now received their first vaccinations. 494,209 have also received the second dose.

319,038 people were vaccinated yesterday 31st January (first dose) . This was lower than the rate achieved during the previous three days.

3156 people received the second dose.


According to a post by Nimbuscare on social media

“Over 12,000 patients received their Covid vaccinations at the York’s National and Local Vaccination Centre between the 25th and 31st January.

In the over 80s group Humber, Coast and Vale (which includes the York area) had vaccinated 68% by 17th January and 87% by the 24th January.”


Number of tests

5,431 PCR (laboratory) tests were conducted in York during the week ending 27th January (the latest figure available).

Of these, 9% provided to be positive .

That is the lowest positivity rate found since 24th December 2020.

In addition, 1526 lateral flow tests were completed on 31st January. That brings the total number of such tests to 35,270.


A TEMPORARY Covid testing site will be set up next week in Haxby which has seen high infection rates in recent times.

The testing will be held by appointment only at the Ethel Ward Playing Fields in Calf Close, Haxby, from Monday until Sunday February 6, from 9am to 3pm.

Tests can be booked by going to or by phoning 119 and selecting the option that you were asked to attend by your local council.

The facility is similar to the one operating on the Thanet Road rugby club car park tomorrow.

It also was set up when virus infection rates in Woodthorpe and Westfield were very high.

York Council staff absence

A York Council committee will be considering the levels of sick absence at the authority. next week.

A report says,

“At the start of the pandemic staff absence increased significantly with a
number of staff not available to work. This was directly linked to coronavirus where staff were displaying symptoms and self isolating and
unable to work from home. The sickness absence rates across the council follows the national and local infection rate patterns, as can be seen, with a slight peak in wave 2 October time and then wave three being end of December into January 2021.

There is some confidence though that whilst rates have increased since
end of December, they are not near the level we experienced in March /
April. There are staff that are self isolating but are able to work fully from home and therefore those will not appear in the figures, also those staff who have tested positive for covid but are well enough to continue to work from home”.

Around 900 staff working in the social care sector are being vaccinated.


The same meeting will hear that there are pressures on some schools. All York schools are still open catering for the children of some critical workers.

The meeting will be told that the number of teaching staff absent since January 5th has fluctuated but has been between 95- 85, with the numbers absent due to being Covid positive being under 10 individual cases on any given date.

“The staffing levels in individual schools have not so far reached a
level where schools have been unable to deliver on site provision or
their remote learning offer”.

The impact on schools varies according to their size, staffing structure
and the physical space within their buildings.

In particular, small primary schools are finding it more difficult to manage high numbers of children on site and to manage the remote learning offer.

During the first week in January, a small number of parents contacted the Council’s education team to highlight problems with accessing school places, each case was worked through and solutions found.

The meeting takes place next Monday

York residents face 5% Council Tax increase

Papers published today by the York Council confirm that a 4.99% increase in Council Tax levels will be implemented on 1st April.

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Most of the increase is being ringfenced and will be spent on social care.

  • £4.4m will be spent on the costs supporting adult social care staff and enabling residents to remain in their homes for longer.
  • £1.4m will go to support children and young people across the city, including further funding for social care staff.
Eclectic mix of ideas for spending on “Covid recovery”

£2.5m will go on creating a “Covid-19 Recovery Fund” (see above) while £1/2 million will bolster waste and street environment services (to include additional staffing on waste rounds, improved city centre cleaning and effective weed control).

There are no proposals to increase the amount invested in improving key public services like road and footpath maintenance.

£200,000 however be spent developing a new transport plan for the City.

Residents have until the end of January to return budget consultation forms. Early results may raise some eyebrows!

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York Councils children’s services facing £5 million overspend

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It looks like the budget for children’s specialist services at the York Council will be overspent by 25% during the current financial year.

Much of the deficit arises from increased fostering and adoptions although an extra £1.1 million has been spent on placing vulnerable children in accommodation outside the City.

The Looked After Children population had been stable, in the range 190-210 at any one time, for several years.

However, a report being considered next week reveals a big increase in numbers over the last 2 years.  

“In October 2018 there were only 4 individual children in care proceedings. As at the end of September 2020 there were 55 sets of proceedings on 93 individual children in place”.   

The report goes on to say, “Safeguarding Interventions are predicted to overspend by approximately £1,139k, mainly due to increases in the Court and Child Protection Teams who are dealing with the increase in cases. Legal fees are predicted to overspend by approximately £220k. Children protection numbers, following a recalibration spike, have now returned to national average levels”.

The projected costs of the local Community Hubs, which were set up at the beginning of lockdown (and have transitioned into a new method of working), is £131,000. This will be funded from the Covid 19 emergency budget provided by the government.

It also looks like the home to school transport budget will also overspend by around £2 million.

“The main increase in numbers have been at post 16/19 where because of the city now being able to provide more specialist education provision for this group of students more locally, subsequently we have had to provide more transport to the likes of York College, Askham Bryan, Choose 2 and Blueberry Academy. The changes in legislation to allow Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) to ages 19-25, resulting in significantly more students accessing this option, has significantly increased our transport spend accordingly”.

The overall net overspend is expected to be £2.5 million after cost savings and a £1.1 million investment from COVID support funding are factored in.

Bus shelter lets down new disabled centre

The condition of the bus shelter outside the spanking new disabled centre in Ascot Way is disgraceful.

Out of use for a year as it was taken over by a builders compound, the expectation had been that a new shelter would be erected before the Councils contractors left the site.

This hasn’t happened so it – and the nearby public noticeboard which was also damaged – remain as unfortunate reminders of poor planning

The bus shelter is rusty, panels are missing or loose, weeds cover the floor and the whole structure is filthy. Altogether a poor advert for public transport in York.

Nearby the council have invested in some tiny “entry” and “exit” signs for the centres car park. We doubt anyone will see them. It would be more effective to paint carriageway arrows to indicate the one way system.

The playground – for the use of children at the centre – has been completed.

Meanwhile the Council has now completely demolished the all weather multi user games area (MUGA) . There is still no sign of the promised replacement which was to have been erected on the Thanet Road Sports Area.

Projects completed in Westfield

Resurfacing and white lining work on part of Gale Lane has now been completed

Gale Lane 7th November

Building work at the disabled centre on Ascot Way has now been completed. Staff have occupied the building and adjacent facilities like the bus shelter and the public notice board (although damaged) are now accessible again