95.9 per cent of York children get a place at their first choice of primary school

Primary school admission figures for entry in September 2019 reveal that 95.9% per cent of York children have been given their first preference of school.

City of York Council’s figures published today (16 April 2019) show that 99.1% per cent of pupils got one of their first three preferences.

The percentage of online applications for primary school places has continued to increase, with 99% of parents and carers applying for their child’s school place online.

Parents who applied online will be notified of their child’s place by email at 10am today, letters are being posted today to parents and those with online accounts can log in to the council’s parent portal at www.york.gov.uk/parentportal.

In 2019 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 reducing from 11 in 2018 to 10 in 2019.

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

Applied Online182694.5%182999.6%

The total size of the cohort starting school in September 2019 is 1,836 pupils, compared to 1,933 last year.

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.”

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.

Call for nominations for the best adult learners


City of York Council is calling for nominations for this year’s York Adult Learner Awards, to celebrate the achievements of lifelong learning in the city.

Anyone can nominate an adult learner aged 18 or over: a relative, colleague or teacher, and this year there are seven categories to choose from so individuals and groups of learners can be recognised.

Learners who are nominated and shortlisted will be invited to a celebration evening on 22 June at Explore York. Besides recognising their achievement, nominees will also find out if they have won the overall title of York Adult Learner of the Year 2017.

Working alongside the council’s York Learning team to help make these awards happen, are York College, York Explore, the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA), Learning City York and York Local Link Ltd.

Outrage as York Tory Councillors fund school in Leeds

Tory Councillors in York have taken the unusual step of issuing a leaflet claiming credit for funding a primary school in Seacroft.

With cash strapped schools in Scarcroft in York hoping for investment to deal with overcrowding, we doubt that local parents will be too impressed with the move!

Tory leaflet March 2017


York’s school attendance is ninth best in UK

Westfield school

Figures released by the Department for Education yesterday, show school attendance for York pupils continues to improve, and is currently the ninth best in the UK.

Of the 150 local authorities across the country, attendance data for the autumn and spring terms 2015-16 show that City of York Council is the ninth best performer of all other local authorities.

Compared nationally, York’s overall attendance level has further improved since 2014-15 when absence was 4.2 per cent. In 2015-16, it improved to 4.0 per cent for same period. York’s performance is better than the national trend which shows that levels of absence fell from 4.5% to 4.4% in the same period. Levels of pupils who are regarded as persistently absent in York – absent for 10 per cent of available sessions – are shown to be the eleventh lowest in the UK with 8.8 per cent for York compared to the national figure of 10.3 per cent.

Compared regionally, York has the second lowest figures for absence in the Yorkshire and Humber region. Regional figures are 4.4 per cent for overall absence and 10.8 per cent persistent absentees respectively.

Absenteeism can be due to a number of factors including parental neglect, truancy, holidays or non-essential appointments. Pupils who miss between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of school tend to have lower attainment levels than average, with only 35 per cent achieving five A* to C GCSEs, including English and maths.

The full data is at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/pupil-absence-in-schools-in-england-autumn-2015-and-spring-2016

Exam results league tables for York published

Disappointing results at York High

Exam results in York click to access more infromation

Exam results in York click to access more information

The Department for Education has published the results of GCSE exams taken last year. They make grim reading for the York High School where success rates have plunged.

Of course, there may be many reasons for this and parents will be expecting a full explanation from the head teacher and his school governors in due course. 

York schools generally performed better than the rest of the UK with 64% of pupils achieving good GCSE results against an a national average of 57%.

From next year, schools in England will be measured on what is known as Progress 8. Progress 8 will replace the five or more good GCSEs, including maths and English, benchmark as the key measure for all secondary schools.

Progress 8 assesses the progress pupils make between Key Stage 2 tests taken at the end of primary school and their performance in a specified mixture of eight subjects at the end of secondary school. Schools will be given a score based on how their pupils have progressed compared to the national average.

This year, schools were given the option to “opt in” for Progress 8 and 327 schools (around 10%) took this up.

Nationally, head teachers have long complained measuring success on the basis of GCSE results alone is unfair as it does not take into account the intake of the school.

But ministers have maintained parents want and need simple and easy-to-digest information about schools.

The difference in achievement by gender is startling, with roughly a fifth fewer boys than girls reaching the end of Key Stage 4 with a good set of GCSEs.

Some 61.8% of girls got five good GCSEs, including English and maths, compared with 52.5% of their male peers.

And fewer boys than girls made at least the expected level of progress – 65.9% of boys opposed to 76.5% of girls.

More girls (29.3%) than boys achieved the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), which requires GCSEs in two sciences, a language, history or geography, as well as English and maths. Only 19.5% of boys obtained it.

Overall, 24.3% of pupils achieved the EBacc.

There was also a marked difference between the performance of disadvantaged pupils (those eligible for the pupil premium) and their more advantaged peers, with just 36.7% getting five good GCSEs, including maths and English, compared to 64.7%.

The poorest performing local authority was Knowsley on Merseyside, where 37.4% of pupils met the required standard, compared to the national average of 57.1%.

New primary school “annex” proposed for Southbank

A new £6.2m annex to Scarcroft Primary School for 210 pupils aged 8-11 to be built on the Millthorpe School site, will be considered by City of York Council’s Executive on 28 January 2016.

Proposed Scarcroft school "annex" near Millthorpe school

Proposed Scarcroft school “annex” near Millthorpe school

A consistent rise in demand has led to the need to create additional primary school places in the Southbank area of the city. To future-proof provision against forecast demand over the next ten years and beyond, a new building is proposed to provide 210 additional pupil places.

Scarcroft Primary School currently admits 45 Reception pupils a year and the annex would provide places for up to 75. For the school year beginning 1 September 2017, additional pupil places could be temporarily accommodated within Scarcroft Primary until the additional spaces are created.

The new building proposed on Millthorpe School land will be sited in an area not currently used as play space.

If approved, the project is expected to be completed for 1 September 2018 and the cost will be met from central Government’s basic needs funding.

Other options considered for meeting the demand were:

(a) provide no additional places in the Southbank area

(b) build accommodation for 210 (1 form entry (fe) each year) additional places, as an annex to Scarcroft Primary on the Millthorpe School site

(c) build a 210 (1 form entry) place primary school on the former Terry’s Car Park site at Nun Ings

(d) build a 315 (1.5 form entry) place school on land behind The Grove and The Square off Tadcaster Road

(e) build a 630 (3 form entry) place school at either Bishopthorpe Infant or Archbishop of York CE Junior school sites

Executive will take place on Thursday 28 January at West Offices from 5.30pm and is open to members of the public or is available to watch live online from: www.york.gov.uk/webcasts

NB. Some parents in the area are still embroiled in a battle over proposed “academy” status for local schools. A recent survey of views has apparently revealed that a majority of the parents, of children currently attending the schools, are opposed to the change. 


£284,000 savings in York education team as 3 face redundancy

The Council has revealed details of a new staff structure in its “learning” team. The restructure is aimed at saving £284,000 a year in staffing costs and has been influenced by the conclusion of some Europe funded projects.

Some voluntary redundancies have already taken place. Three existing staff face compulsory redundancy

The background report says,

“Many of these savings are coming from reduction in management posts, but there will also be some savings in direct service delivery, including reductions in some teaching staff, reductions in employability programmes and provision to support mental health issues.

These reductions are going to have a serious affect on the service’s ability to support individuals seeking work and those who require help with recovering from mental health issues”.BehindClosedDoors 2015

The decision was taken at a “behind closed doors” meeting held on 21st December.

Reports were not made public until after the decision had been published