Universal Credit and its impact in York – Call for Evidence

Later this year, a Council report regarding the impact of Universal Credit and it’s rollout in York will be presented to the Executive Member for Adult Social Care.  As part of this, the Liberal Democrats would like to hear from residents about their experiences of accessing Universal Credit.

The report, due to be presented on the 14th June 2018, will be given to Cllr Carol Runciman to consider as part of her responsibilities to review financial inclusion in York.

Given the controversial nature of Universal Credit and the difficulties some residents have had using the service; the Liberal Democrats are keen to ensure residents in York have their experiences included as part of the report, so it is truly reflective of the current situation.

If a resident would like to share their experience of Universal Credit in York, then please do contact Cllr Carol Runciman at cllr.crunciman@york.gov.uk to make sure your observations are included.

Cllr Carol Runciman, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Adult Social Care, said:

“The rollout of Universal Credit has caused a great deal of stress for many residents across the City.”

“It is absolutely vital that the Council considers the impact of Universal Credit in York and listens to the experiences of residents using the system.”

“I would strongly encourage anyone who accesses Universal Credit to share with their experiences me and ensure that their voices are included as part of this report.”

Free school meals

The Tory government is repealing the free school meal legislation introduced by the last coalition government.

New regulations published this week indicate that a child will only receive a free mid day meal if his or her parents are in receipt of Universal Credit and earn less that £617 a month.

The new rules come into effect on 1st April 2018

Several families in York are expected to be hit hard by the new cut.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/148/pdfs/uksi_20180148_en.pdf

 

Plans for Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children revealed.

Ascot Way proposals generally welcomed

The plans to establish a new centre for disabled children on the former Windsor House site on Ascot Way were generally welcomed at a public meeting held on Monday. The plans will now be discussed at a Council Executive meeting next week

The Council says that the new building will be the setting for a range of support services which will enable disabled children to remain in their families and in their community, delivered from a safe, accessible space

  • Flexible short break provision to meet the needs of children and young people with Autism, Learning Disabilities and/or additional health needs.
  • Family Intervention Rapid Support Team (FIRST) and Therapeutic Short Breaks a specialist Clinical Psychology led intensive assessment and intervention service for families with children and young people who have Autism and Learning Disability and challenging behaviour which affects their ability to live in the local community

The facility will be linked to Hob Moor Oaks special school. Disabled children will be able to walk to the new provision after school, instead of being transported across the city on minibuses. Part of the playing field of the school will be used for the project.

The buildig will replace the facilities currently provided at The Glen.

The scheme is imaginative and worthy of support. However, the proposal to retain the front entrance (and therefore vehicular access) via Ascot Way is controversial. There are already congestion and parking problems in the area. An access, with car parking,  via Hob Moor school would address this issue, while offering the opportunity to provide better accessibility for Lincoln Court.

The detailed plans also suggest that an outdoor play area be provided adjacent to Lincoln Court. While many older people like to feel involved in the local community, inevitably playgrounds can be noisy places. We think that the location of this part of the facility should be reconsidered.

Residents will hope that any building work on the project will not take place at the same time as the threatened development of the Newbury Avenue garage site.

Illustrations of what is proposed are reproduced below

School funding in Westfield missing out on £73,000 boost

It has been revealed that under the Government’s new Schools National Funding Formula, schools in Westfield ward are set to receive the one lowest increases in funding across York.

The issue, raised by Liberal Democrat ward Councillor for Westfield ward, Cllr Andrew Waller, was highlighted during the Liberal Democrat motion on funding for children and young people in York during Thursday’s Council meeting.

If the York average increase was applied to Westfield’s Schools, then this would have meant an additional £73,000 for additional classroom support.

Cllr Andrew Waller said:

“For the past 28 years, I have been a school governor and I have seen the hard work that schools have put in to supporting vulnerable pupils, especially through Pupil Premium which is audited by Ofsted on inspections.

When you look at the indicative figures for York, you can clearly see that there are specific issues regarding support for schools within disadvantaged communities. The three schools in Westfield deliver an inclusive education to the local community.

There is concern that clarity on additional funds for schools serving communities with areas of need will become unpredictably complex with the new Government Formula and impacts from Universal Credit.

This will severely impact on the support they can offer to pupils, in helping them reach their full potential.  Every school in the country is judged by Ofsted; comparing York schools against better funded schools.  The Liberal Democrats are simply asking for fairness.

The three Westfield Ward Councillors will be writing to the Secretary of State to draw her attention to this appalling situation and request that schools in Westfield be appropriately funded, so that they can go on to provide an inclusive education in one of the most disadvantaged areas in York.”

Liberal Democrats seek funding commitments for Children & Young People in York

In a motion put to full Council on the 14th December, Liberal Democrats are calling on the Council to stand up to the Government and insist the Secretary of State reconsider York’s abysmal school funding position.

Under the new Schools National Funding Formula, the Government is imposing real term cuts on schools by freezing per-pupil funding, while inflation and school costs, such as staff salary costs, employer pension and national insurance contributions, increase; affecting all schools and academies in the process.

York has historically been the lowest funded local authority area, in terms of school funding, in the Country and with the Government’s new proposals, is set to remain the lowest funded.

Furthermore, York Liberal Democrats are also seeking assurances that the Council will maintain funding levels to the City’s Youth Council, which has worked tirelessly to campaign for young people in York.

Cllr Ashley Mason said: (more…)

Deadline for York secondary school applications approaches

 

Parents of children currently in Year 6 are being reminded that applications for secondary schools places for September 2018 should be made before midnight on Tuesday 31 October 2017.

For pupils in Year 6 – the last year of primary school – parents should apply for a maximum of five schools and we recommend that one preference should be the catchment school

Applications can be made online at www.york.gov.uk/schooladmissions.

All details and answers to frequently asked questions can be found at www.york.gov.uk/guideforparents. This guide contains information on school admissions and appeals processes as well as information on admissions statistics, oversubscription criteria and other information for parents and carers.

Any parents eligible and who may not already have applied for free school meals are urged to do so at the same time. This means that whether or not the meal is taken, the pupil premium of £900 per year per eligible secondary school pupil will follow the young person throughout their time at school to benefit their education.

For more detailed information, please email: education@york.gov.uk or call 01904 551 554.

York children set to take walk to school week in their stride

 
Twenty five York schools and over 7,000 pupils across the city are set to take part in Walk to School Week from Monday 16 October.

Walk to school week aims to get even more children walking, cycling or scooting to school.

The school that gets the highest number of pupils walking, cycling or scooting throughout the week will win the coveted Jack Archer award and £200 to put towards sports equipment.

It is recommended that children aged five to sixteen do at least sixty  minutes of physical activity that gets their heart beating faster than usual and they need to do it everyday to burn off calories and prevent them storing up excess fat in the body.

Regular activity is also important for adults and it is recommended that adults make sure they’re active for just 30 minutes each day, or 150 minutes a week.

The scheme is also targeted at families who normally take the car, and encourages them to consider walking or cycling to school instead.

Residents can find out more about changing the way they travel in York at: www.itravelyork.info
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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.

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.

Pupils to speak up at city’s first Primary Voice session

York’s first open forum for primary school pupils is welcoming children to have their say on the city and their views on it.

On Monday 26 June City of York Council is hosting the first ever Primary Voice event with Clifton Green Primary School. 20 schools across the city are sending some 70 participants – pupils and staff – and councillors from all the main political parties will be attending.

Schools have been invited to bring pupils from Years 5 and 6 or from their school council, to come and share the views of their school community.

They can talk to councillors and officers, take part in workshops, hear about how City of York Council operates and experience democracy in action.
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