Adult learning in York must face up to COVID challenge

Shine programme

The Council will consider an update report tomorrow on how well its York Learning (further education) service is performing. Not surprisingly, courses have been interrupted with many of the venues used by the service not being available for hire.

The Council produced a “Shine” booklet recently outlining what was available this summer. Mainly aimed at families, it can be accessed by clicking here

Much of the York Learning’s £3 million budget is spent on providing educational opportunities for disadvantaged groups.

Some performance information has now been published click

It reveals that events such as “job fairs” have been shelved in the wake of the health scare. Given the likely increase in unemployment in the City, providing services like this must have a high priority even if they have to be established initially on a “virtual” basis.

Reskilling the workforce will be a challenge as the City – and country – tries to emerge from recession. Judging by the published report, York Learning has yet to adapt its priorities to address that challenge.

The report reveals a decline in student numbers – including refugees – undertaking English language courses. This is partly explained by the lower number of inward migrants to the area. Some courses are also now available on line using “zoom”.

The report to the meeting acknowledges that during recent months some residents have become more isolated than they needed to be because of lack of IT skills. Many services were only available “on line” during the crisis and libraries were closed.

Filling that skills gap is a top priority for the service

The learning team have been criticised in the past for being slightly remote from local communities. Residents Associations rarely receive any information about upcoming local activities.

The Council will need to engage more effectively in the future if those in greatest need of skills training are to receive  the support that they need.

York Learning Summer Festival

Adult Learning: February 2014

York Learning (part of City of York Council) is hosting their first ever Summer Festival, offering residents a variety of fun and uplifting activities for the whole family.

Taking place throughout August, residents will have the opportunity to perfect their skills or learn new skills with a series of classes ranging from foreign language to mask-making; painting to dancing; or BBQ cooking to photography.

This year, the festival will have a special focus on supporting local resident’s wellbeing. York Learning will be offering Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi, Dancefit workshops and mindfulness classes designed to help people come to terms with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

There will also be the chance to prepare fun ways to get your kids ready for school, perfect your writing skills and enjoy fun-filled family activities. All Summer Festival courses and workshops are available to pre-book online at www.yorklearning.org.uk.

York Learning has been offering an extended range of online classes for all to enjoy during the coronavirus outbreak, and will continue during the summer holiday period.

To see all the Summer Festival workshops and courses, visit www.yorklearning.org.uk and keep an eye on the York Learning and Family Learning Facebook pages, Instagram, and Twitter.

Vulnerable children and young people in York to receive laptops

3,000 Newcastle families to get free laptops and internet access ...

Over 450 children and young people across the city will have access to their own laptops this summer, as part of a national scheme to help vulnerable young people during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The laptops will be distributed by children’s social workers to children and young people they’re working with who don’t currently have internet access, as well as recent care leavers.

Several Councils been given laptops to distribute under a government programme covering children with a social worker, those who are leaving the care system, and Year 10 students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

It is understood that the move is aimed a ensuring that no child falls behind with their home work as a result of COVID restrictions.

The Council has yet to confirm that the equipment will remain the property of the local authority or what maintenance and insurance arrangements have been put in place.

Primary School admissions announced for York

Primary school admission figures for entry in September show that 94.2% of York children have been given their first preference of school.

City of York Council’s figures published today (16 April) show that 98.6% of pupils got one of their first three preferences.

The percentage of children getting their first preference fell slightly on last year’s figures, by 1.7% overall. Those getting their second preference increased by 0.4% overall compared to last year’s data.

In 2020 all children within the local authority area have secured a primary school place. The majority of children got one of their first three preferences; with the number of children whose preferences were not able to be met increasing from 10 to 19. Most of these 19 applications only provided 1 school preference which was not their catchment school. The children have been allocated a place at their catchment school where spaces are available.

The total size of the cohort starting school in September 2020 is 1860 pupils, compared to 1,837 last year.

This year all parents will receive a letter to advise them of their child’s school allocation.

Parents are also able to log in to their parent portal account at www.york.gov.uk/parentportal.

Due to the current Covid 19 restrictions the Admissions Team is unable to answer queries by telephone. Parents are being asked to email education@york.gov.uk, using ‘Primary School Allocation’ as the subject if they have any queries about the allocation.

York’s adult learning service rated ‘good

York’s adult learning service – York Learning – has been rated ‘good’ by independent inspectors Ofsted.

The service currently providers education and training for over 5,000 local residents, many of whom study courses in English, maths, ICT or English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

The inspectors praised the welcoming atmosphere created by course tutors and the high-quality curriculum which focuses on improving learners’ knowledge and skills.

They also highlighted how much learners enjoy their programmes and develop their confidence and resilience as a result.

Areas for improvement included setting clear goals for learners on community learning courses and ensuring that changes in the teaching and assessment of maths lead to improvements in apprentices’ ability to pass their exams.

The service’s last inspection was in 2011 when it was also rated ‘good’.

£5.6 million to be spent upgrading York schools

The York Council is planning to undertake maintenance work over the next few months at 13 schools in the area.

The largest part of the £5.6 million budget has been allocated to Huntington School which will see £987,000 spent on refurbishing the Science Lab with part of the roof also set to be replaced together with the provision of a new kitchen and improved insulation.

Clifton Primary school will receive £944,000. This will see Roofs, Gutters, Windows and External Doors replaced. The building will be rewired, and old pipework replaced.

Westfield school

The Westfield Primary school will get a £686,000 boost. A section of the building will be re-roofed, the playground resurfaced, and a new fire alarm system fitted.

Other work planned includes

The proposals are being discussed at a Council meeting next week.

York parents fined £1800 following prolonged unauthorised school absences

Three York parents have been handed court fines this month after City of York Council took action following their children’s poor attendance at school.

The prosecution was heard by York Magistrates and followed numerous attempts by the authority and schools to engage the parents to give the children the education to which they are entitled.

In all cases, the parents had failed to provide the schools with acceptable reasons for much of their children’s absence and the schools had therefore marked the absence as unauthorised.

The prosecuted parents had, prior to court, failed to engage with the schools and local authority to support their children’s attendance and had also been issued with a fine as an alternative to prosecution. They had not paid it, prompting the council to prosecute.

All three parents were ordered to pay fines ranging between £131 to £660.

Maxine Squire, Assistant Director of Education and Skills at City of York Council, said: “We want all children to receive a great education and benefit from the rich opportunities and high quality of education that are provided by our schools, and working with families and schools to promote and maintain good attendance is vital in achieving this.

“We will always attempt to engage with parents to avoid further loss of a child’s education before we prosecute. This is used as last resort in order to ensure that children receive the education to which they are entitled.”

Year 11 York students offered apprenticeship taster

City of York Council’s Apprenticeship Hub is inviting Year 11 students to apply for a place on the second city-wide Apprenticeship Taster Day, following the successful launch earlier this year.

Taking place on Thursday 16 January 2020, 14 local employers are offering apprenticeship tasters to over 100 year 11 students from York secondary schools.

The taster day gives students the opportunity to experience what it would be like to be an apprentice in a variety of sectors, including finance, data science, hospitality, early years, rail engineering, marketing and construction.

The employers hosting students on the day will include; Network Rail, Aviva, City of York Council, Garbutt & Elliott, Portakabin, Toni & Guy and a variety of early years settings.

The application form is available from york.gov.uk/yorkapprenticeships and must be submitted by Friday 13 December.

For more information contact the York Apprenticeship Hub, email: york.apprenticeships@york.gov.uk or 01904 553732 or visit the York Apprenticeships webpage: www.york.gov.uk/yorkapprenticeships.

More than 8,000 local children to take part in Walk to School Week 2019

More than half of York’s primary schools will take part in Walk to School Week 2019, which runs from 14 to 18 October.

The national, awareness-raising event is staged annually and aims to encourage children and their families to walk, cycle or scoot to and from school, rather than travelling by car.

Locally, in excess of 8,000 students from 28 different schools will get involved. City of York Council’s iTravel team will present the Jack Archer Award to the school with the highest proportion of its students walking, cycling or scooting throughout the week, as well as cash to spend on sports equipment, which has been donated by Age UK. The Jack Archer Award is now in its sixteenth year and Age UK has supported the competition since it was first launched as part of its intergenerational work to encourage children to be more active.

Councillor Andy D’Agorne, the council’s Executive Member for Transport, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many local schools getting involved in Walk to School Week and competing for the Jack Archer Award.

“The council is committed to promoting sustainable forms of transport and it’s important that children are encouraged to adopt these habits from a young age. In addition to the health and wellbeing benefits for the children themselves, walking, cycling or scooting benefits everyone by reducing traffic congestion and emissions, and improving air quality.

“Good luck to all the schools taking part!”

Residents of all ages can find out more about sustainable travel options by visiting www.itravelyork.info.

Westfield Primary gets £1m+ investment

Westfield Primary School has undergone an £1m investment programme over the last two years, with £425,000 being spent this year on refurbishing the east wing.

Westfield school

The most recent phase of the refurbishment has focused on the area of the school which houses foundation stage children through to Year 1 pupils. It has included replacing 104 windows, re-roofing two sections and removing a 40-year-old temporary double classroom.

The work has not only improved the condition of the school, but has also increased the school’s ‘environmental credentials’ by reducing energy wastage.

Re-organising the classrooms has also enabled the school’s nursery pupils to be brought into the main building so, besides being supported by teachers, they’re now co-located with the other pupils.

Last year, the school’s dining room, roof and kitchen area underwent a £695,000 refurbishment, enabling children to spend less time queuing for food and more time eating a healthy meal.  The former vast kitchen and dining spaces were reorganised, creating a pleasant, calming place to eat.

Parents and members of the community will be invited into the school during school holidays to experience the new space for themselves.

Lamara Taylor, Headteacher at Westfield Primary School, said: “The support we’ve had from the building team and City of York Council has been great and the scheme has led to considerable improvements to our school. The result has been amazing.

“I’m proud to show prospective parents around Westfield and the investment in the school will have positive benefits to the whole school community in the future. It’s all very exciting.”