Good GCSE (Key Stage 4) results in York

Pupils across the city have achieved excellent GCSE results.

Early indications of results at York High would suggest that in spite of the increased challenge of GCSE examinations in English and maths this year students  “have achieved results in line with those achieved in 2016”.

Meanwhile York College says it is proud to announce “fabulous GCSE results for students aged 16-18 years, and adult students, who have taken their Maths and English Language exams this year.  A total of 237 students achieved grades 9-4 in English Language and 171 students achieved an A*-C in Maths from this summer’s examinations.  And nearly two thirds of adult students who took GCSE Biology this year have achieved high grades A*-C”.

Despite the significant changes that have taken place in the examination system this past year around curriculum changes and measuring performance, York’s Key Stage 4 performance remains strong.

These changes include new performance indicators for the percentage of pupils achieving grades 9-1 in both English and mathematics. Provisional results show that York schools have performed well against these new indicators with 69% of students achieving grade 4 and above in both English and maths, and 48% achieving grade 5 and above .

The measure known as English Baccalaureate (EBacc) continued to show good performance.  Pupils who gain good grades in English, maths, two science subjects, a modern foreign language and a humanities subject achieve EBacc.

Westfield ward committee improvements – list published

The Council, has published a list of projects that will be funded from the Westfield ward delegated budget this year. Most other wards have announced similar lists. The Westfield list can be found by clicking here

Although covering 30 months of funding, the list does include schemes which have not yet got off the ground.

Amongst them are plans for diversionary activities in the beleaguered Chapelfields area.

Allocations include

  • £6,841 funding to tackle anti-social behaviour across the ward.  Out of that fund, £376 was allocated to pay for CCTV maintenance on Bramham Road between September 2017 to September 2018.
  • £1500  was transferred to tackle anti-social behaviour in the Chapelfields area.
  • £3,521 funding to tackle anti-social behaviour in the Chapelfields area

The Chapelfields programe is described as “a multi-agency team involving police, LAT and Public Health as well as local community groups who will seek to address anti-social behaviour through targeted diversionary activities for local children and young people. This will link to the Communities that Care programme which is being developed by the local police”.  £500 has been paid for Urbie sessions (a community youth activity bus project) in a local church car park. Further visits are expected in September

Residents have written to the Council asking for an update on the progress with these projects and a similar initiative at the Kingsway West MUGA which although allocated £2000 in the budget, also does not seem to have started yet.

We wish the authorities well in their attempts to defuse the situation.

Westfield survey priorities at 18th August 2017 (excluding Foxwood)

The results of the Ward Committees ballot, which sought residents priorities on use of its delegated budget, have not been published yet.

However the results of a similar door to door survey conducted by local Councillors are available.

So far over 1540 forms have been returned.

They show strong support for five projects.

These include funding for leisure activities for younger people and security improvements. 



Anti social behaviour peaks in Chapelfields

Dispersal order in place from 5:00pm today

Police are warning that robust action will be taken following eight days of high level anti-social behaviour in York’s Chapelfields estate.

There have been more than twenty five incidents of anti-social behaviour in the Chaplefields area between 9 August and 16 August.

The nature of the incidents, have included anti-social use of mopeds and motorcycles, arson, drug use and criminal damage.

The groups of youths, sometimes up to thirty in number, causing this hazardous disruption have also been using threatening and abusive language towards residents and the police.

Circumstances of some of the more serious reports involved a flat window being forced open and fireworks thrown inside, a youth threatening an officer with a piece of wood a group climbing onto the school roof, where the skylight has been previously smashed by a group of the youths.

Bramham Road

The incidents have taken places across various locations in the area including Bramham Road, Bramham Avenue, Chaplefields Road, Westfield Place and Barkston Grove.

A dispersal order is going to be implemented at 5 pm today which will last for 48 hours. The dispersal order will cover an area of Bramham Road which includes the junction of Barkston Grove, and another area of Bramham Road which covers Costcutter and the junctions either side of Bramham avenue.

Inspector Lee Pointon of the York North Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:

The levels of anti-social behaviour this group are committing is just astonishing and they are causing so much misery amongst the community in Chaplefields.

Many residents, including the elderly and vulnerable, have felt intimidated, have been verbally abused, and are scared in their own home. This is totally unacceptable behaviour.
These youths are ruining what should be a respectable community enjoying the summer months and school holidays. Instead, we are seeing this group of defiant individuals who have no intentions other than to be nasty, cause desolation and despair amongst the public.

My team of officers and PCSOs are working hard to identify these youths and exercise the powers we can to deter them from this anti-social behaviour.

A dispersal order will be put in place today that will last for 48 hours. Anyone who breaks the order will be arrested. If the order is deemed successful, it will be continued throughout next week”.

Anyone who witnesses anti-social behaviour or who has any information is asked to contact police. Dial 101, press 1 and speak to the force control room.
Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

In the recent survey conducted by local Councillors in the Chapelfields estate many residents complained about what they regarded as the low police profile in the area.

  • 39% of respondents described policing in the estate as “poor”
  • Better security was the most requested improvement for the area

June edition of Chapelfields Focus newsletter

Good A level exam results announced in York

York College

 A level students across the city have achieved an excellent set of results in this years exams.

Provisional results for York school sixth forms and York College show that the very high standards of previous years have been maintained and initial results for the city indicate that A level results remain consistently amongst the best in the country.

York school sixth forms – All Saints RC, Archbishop Holgate’s CE, Fulford, Huntington and Joseph Rowntree – and York College are reporting strong results including ‘best ever’ performances.

At York College pupils have got an outstanding A-Level pass rate of 99.7 per cent with a record of almost 60 per cent high grades achieved (A* – B). Yet again, the College’s results will be significantly above the national average, as they have been for 23 consecutive years.

Over 30 students gained three or more A* or A grades, with an amazing seven students achieving 3 A*s or more. The College is also delighted to report a 100 per cent pass rate in 35 A Level subjects.

Early results for the schools show that across the board young people will be able to get to the universities of their choice, including those applying to Oxbridge universities and medical courses. This strong position is being maintained despite the significant changes to the content and structure of A and AS level courses this year.

Chesney Field meeting leaves many unanswered questions

Chesney’s Field development plan

Last nights “drop in” briefing, at which some residents were given the opportunity to see how Council officials want to see Chesney’s Field developed, produced more questions than answers.

The plan to fence off part of the popular piece of public open space had already got off to a poor start when it was found that neither local Ward Councillors not the Residents Association had been consulted.

It now appears that flyers advertising the exhibition were only delivered to a small number of properties. Attendance at the event was modest.

The Residents Association will be organising another meeting in August to review the proposals.

What is now clear is that the plans involve over 60% of the field being enclosed with 1 metre high railings. This is intended to accommodate the preferences of a football club (Woodthorpe Wanderers) which faces eviction from the Council owned pitches at Lowfields.

A shipping container storage type building may also be left on the field and some levelling work would be undertaken. The playground is unlikely to be affected.

Although officials say that access gates would remain unlocked, the fencing would effectively eliminate some types of sporting activity, such as cricket, and could inhibit other uses.  Activities would tend to concentrate around the perimeter, nearer to peoples homes.

There is an option to include an “outdoor gym” or “trim track” (the Acorn field or Foxwood Park remain other location possibilities for these).

Survey – click to complete

The Council says that – to make up for the loss of the playing fields at Lowfields which the Council hopes to build on – additional open space will be provided near the college on Tadcaster Road (over a mile from the existing pitches). Perhaps not surprisingly, the existing users of the Lowfields pitches feel that this is too far away to meet their needs (and is unlikely to address the concerns of playing field conservation bodies both local and national).

The £40,000 expenditure will be mainly used at Tadcaster Road.

Local Councillors will be consulting directly through a door to door survey over the next 3 weeks. Around 1000 homes will be visited.  Residents will then be able to give their verdict on whether they want to see any changes to the field.

Early responses to the survey suggest that most people would prefer the football club to stay at Lowfields.

One option would be for the Woodthorpe Wanderers football club to play on Chesneys Field – with the benefit of levelled pitches – but without any fencing.

As the concern seems to relate to the possible fouling of the pitches by dogs, additional poop scoop bins could be provided together with more warning signs. We think this will probably meet most peoples concerns. Any storage unit could be located more discretely behind the landscaping mound on the other side of Foxwood Lane

Residents are also being given the chance in the survey to say whether they want a fitness tract and/or outdoor gym.

The survey can also be completed “on line” click

The results are expected at the end of August




Study on York’s 30 hours childcare trial published today


According to the City of York Council, “An in-depth study published today on the Council’s 30 hours free childcare trial, confirms that the council exceeded its government target, secured 100 per cent sign-up from private and voluntary settings and publishes comments from parents involved in the pilot”

The Council says the full report can now be downloaded 

A national evaluation of the trial run by eight councils was published by the government on 17 July and showcases York’s work and partnership with local childcare providers.

This York-specific study by Frontier Economics looks at the work of the council – the only authority to fully implement the 30 Hours free childcare programme in a trial – and details the very high level of participation including childminders.

The Department for Education funded all children eligible for the extended hours and estimated that in York, 1,480 would be eligible. The department challenged York to engage at least 70% of them but the council exceeded that and, by the spring term, 1,678 places had been provided and taken up. Besides indicating the trial’s success, it showed that the number of eligible families in York was higher than estimated.

The case study identified that the reasons behind this success was involving childcare providers and York’s Shared Foundation Partnerships at an early stage to further improve quality and to meet demand for childcare places on this popular programme. The commitment and expertise given to providers by York’s childcare strategy team was also praised.

The case study gives evidence of providers’ support for the 30 hours programme and showed that even when concerns about funding were raised, the providers worked with the programme to make it viable for parents and commercially.

No parents were refused the extended hours.

Over half the York families interviewed said that the additional disposable income the scheme gave them allowed them to afford outings, children’s after-school activities and holidays.

Extended free childcare was first introduced 3 years ago.

Sycamore House reopens after £326,000 refurbishment

 A new multi-purpose centre has opened today (Monday 24 July) after a £326,000 refurbishment of the old Sycamore House building.

The refurbished building, to be (imaginatively) called 30 Clarence Street, will be the new city centre facility providing a range of services for residents young and old.

30 Clarence Street will be the new location for young people’s services, previously delivered from Castlegate, and will provide a drop-in and specialist advice, guidance and support service for young people age 16-18 who are not in education, employment and training. Confidential counselling for young people aged 16-25, and information signposting to services for a range of advice from health matters, relationships, housing and benefits, learning and working will also be available.

The adults’ mental health recovery service will also be based at 30 Clarence Street and will offer support, advice and, guidance to residents who are referred to it. As well as this support, people will also be able to access training and placement schemes, working on reception or in the cafe, to help them develop their skills and confidence.

Residents will be able to enjoy the refurbished Explore reading café where they can browse a range of books, meet friends, socialise and enjoy a cuppa.

The council is also leasing office space on the first floor of the building to York Mind and York Pathways and, given the links between these organisations and the services operating from the ground floor, this arrangement will help facilitate even closer working relationships between the voluntary and community sector, the council and health services.

Later in the year, the building will also welcome ‘The Haven’, an evening service will provide a safe and supportive environment for people experiencing mental distress. Open 6pm – 11pm, 7 days a week, ‘The Haven’ will offer a welcome to anyone needing it and will be run by specialist mental health services.

The opening of ‘The Haven’ was made possible after City of York Council and partners in the North Yorkshire and York crisis care concordat successfully bid for £178,000 of Department for Health funding to support the initiative. City of York Council has provided the other £148,000 of funding for the refurbishment of 30 Clarence Street.

York increased childcare hours project assessment published

Leaders of York’s childcare sector have today met Children and Families Minister Robert Goodwill MP.

City of York Council chaired a round tab discussion that included councillors, local authority officers and providers from both York and North Yorkshire in advance of the national roll out of the 30 hours additional hours programme in September 2017.

The meeting at the council’s West Offices discussed the early implementer programme offering eligible parents 30 hours childcare, as an independent evaluation of the programme’s trial was published by the government today.

As one of eight early implementers of the programme, City of York Council has been sharing learning with North Yorkshire County Council – one of the next four councils to launch the offer to working parents of three and four-year-olds – and eight other local authorities in preparation for the national roll out in September 2017.

The Minister expressed his appreciation and admiration of the way in which together, the council and local providers have exceeded the city’s target to provide a high quality programme with tangible benefits to parents. Private providers also spoke about the welcome support they have had from the council.

Feedback from parents included one mother who found the additional childcare hours had given her to time to start up her own business, others – including armed forces families – found it gave them valuable additional support and others felt it made working more manageable and affordable.

This summer, the Council is expecting that 1,730 children will benefit from additional hours. York is the first council to include out of school clubs in the programme to give parents additional flexibility.

Here we go again – More consultation over access road to York Central


Another consultation is to take place on how traffic will access the York central site.

Its over ten years since the options were first published. Since then, debate has raged over whether the link should be from Holgate Road or Water End.  The Chancery Rise option was favoured by the then Labour controlled Council who adopted it with little respect for objectors views.

Public consultation – York central access options 2007

The now the coalition run authority is trying to sort out the mess left by their predecessors.

The proposed consultation on access routes into the York Central site by the York Central Partnership has been given the green light by senior councillors.

City of York Council’s Executive made the decision after receiving an update on progress on the project to redevelop the 72-hectare site, which sits next to the city’s railway station.

York Central Partnership is working towards creating a heritage-led masterplan that will be the first step in opening up the previously landlocked site and demonstrate how it can create new neighbourhoods, parks and public spaces, as well as providing significant new housing and grade-A commercial office space on the largest brownfield site in northern England.

York Central Partnership is made up of Network Rail, the Homes and Community Agency, City of York Counciland the National Railway Museum, whose own ambitious masterplan will form part of the eventual plans.

York Central is a severely constrained site, entirely surrounded by railway lines; the main east coast route connecting London to Edinburgh and the ‘avoiding lines’ for freight trains to bypass the station, in addition to significant rail yards.

Views are now being sought on the ways that vehicles can access the site. A study has already considered factors including the engineering challenge, land availability, and the environment but further views are being sought on the community impact, including noise and visual impact.

York Central access route coptions July 2017

The partnership will present three possible access options for consultation. Two relate to a potential link from Water End into the western part of the site and the third would see access created from Chancery Rise.

Three previous access options being considered, which would have seen a link coming off Poppleton Road have been rejected because they either land on the York Yard South railway sidings, which are still required for rail use until 2023 at the earliest, or would disrupt the use and development of the Network Rail Holgate Engineering Works.

York Central Partnership plans to carry out the consultation on options for the access road in August and September, which will be followed later in the year with a consultation on the scheme’s masterplan.

In the run up to the consultation, the Partnership is also seeking to arrange a series of meetings with groups and individuals interested in the scheme. These sessions will be to explain about the process to date, how it will continue to develop and the key points where groups can get involved to have their say.

At the meeting, executive councillors were also asked to recommend to Council that a wider budget of £37.4m be approved for York Central transport improvements funded from the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund.

3 access routes for public consultation July 2017

Urbie bus sessions on Chapelfields Estate

Westfield Ward Committee has dedicated a pot of funding from their 2016 to 2017 ward budget towards provision of activities for young people on Chapelfields Estate.

Part of this funding has been used to commission Urbie bus sessions at St Aiden’s Church.

The first session is on Friday 30 June 2017 between 7pm and 9pm. Sessions will continue every Friday for the next 4 weeks, after which the provision will be reviewed.

Urbie is a fun place for young people to engage in craft activities, watch films, play board games, take part in sports activities and somewhere to go and talk.

Youth workers will be encouraging young people in the area to come along.

This is the first time the bus will be used by The Rock of York after acquiring it via asset transfer from the City of York Council.