£2.67m investment in specialist York schools

Two of York’s specialist schools could benefit from a £2.67m investment if plans are approved by City of York Council’s Executive later this month (20 May).

The Executive will be asked to approve plans for capital works at Applefields Special School, which supports secondary aged students, with a wide range of special educational needs; and Danesgate which is home to York’s Pupil Referral Unit and supports young people with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs.

The proposals recognise the continued rise in pupil numbers at Applefields over the last four years and a need to better support the needs of children and young people with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs at Danesgate.

Members will be asked to approve plans to approve works to adapt existing office and break out space into classrooms at Applefields, ready for the September 2021 intake. The proposals would enable the school to support the increasing number of young people with highly complex needs, such as those with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), autism, and those with the highest level of social and emotional need.  

Phase 2 of the project would see the creation of essential administrative space and, if approved, would be completed by September 2022. The total value of the works is approximately £765,000. Remodelling and reorganisation of the site at Danesgate is needed to reflect the changing needs of the children and young people using the centre, with increasing numbers of pupils having communication and interaction needs.

The proposals also recognise the rising number of children and young people who are unable to attend school with their peers due to mental health needs and an increasing need to have more bespoke provision for many students who display anxieties, including specific intervention and break out spaces.

The proposed capital works at Danesgate would see the reconfiguration of the current buildings, to create smaller classrooms and breakout spaces, enabling the centre to meet the varied needs of pupils. The total cost of the proposed works is £1.9m.

Cllr Keith Orrell, the council’s Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, said:

We know that the number of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, including those with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs, across the city is continuing to increase. As a city committed to supporting all our residents, it’s important that we ensure that we are able to provide the right support to enable all our children and young people to fulfil their individual potential.

95.5% of children get their first choice of primary school in York

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Primary school admission figures for entry in September 2021 reveal that 95.5 per cent of York children (1,674 children) have been allocated their first preference of school.

This is an increase of just over one per cent on last year’s figures.

City of York Council’s figures published show that:

  • 99.5 per cent of pupils got one of their five preferences
  • all of the 143 pupils who applied for a place at York’s junior schools (from Year 3) got their first choice

Parents who applied online can find out where their child has been allocated a place by logging into their parent portal account today via www.york.gov.uk/PrimarySchoolAdmissions.

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.

School admissions figures

 We’ve provided this year’s and last year’s admission figures as a comparison.

Primary school figures 2021
PreferenceQuantityPer cent
Primary school figures 2020
PreferenceQuantityPer cent
Junior school figures 2021
PreferenceQuantityPer cent
Junior school figures 2020
PreferenceQuantityPer cent

The total size of the cohort starting school in September 2021 is 1,753 pupils, compared to 1,860 last year.

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

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

I’m delighted that so many children will be able to attend their first choice of primary school this year. Starting primary school is such an exciting milestone. I wish all those starting a new school in September the very best of luck.

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 www.york.gov.uk/ParentPortal.

Coronavirus York updates; 13th March 2021


There have been no further hospital deaths announced today. The last fatality at the York Hospital Trust occurred on 7th March.

Test results

Eleven positive test results announced today. Brings cumulative total up to 12,048

The number of cases in the City has fallen by 2 from yesterday’s 110 to 108 today.

The rate /110k population figure has fallen slightly to 51.28, It is expected to be stable at around 53 for the next two days before possibly resuming a downward trend around the middle of next week.

Case numbers are stable at county, regional and national level. This suggests that the return to school may have inhibited a further reduction in infection rates.


It is a mixed picture at neighbourhood level, with the largest increase in case numbers (4) being seen in the Woodthorpe/Acomb Park/Foxwood South neighbourhood.

On the other hand, 2 neighbourhoods now have no cases.



4160 PCR test were carried out in York during the week ending 8th March.

Of these, 1.7% were positive. This is a reduction on the previous days figure of 1.9%

2677 lateral flow tests were also carried out on 12th March 2021

Infections in school children

The Council has issued a statement (see below) saying that 15,000 COVID tests were carried out on York school pupils between 1st and 7th March.

Subsequently 97% of children returned to school.

The media release doesn’t say how many tests were positive but a separate report published yesterday says

in the 7 days up to 8.3.21 there were 34 children of primary and secondary school age who tested positive.

Widespread testing of secondary school aged children took place prior to the return to school on March 8th.

The majority of children who tested positive were of secondary school age and were picked up as asymptomatic cases through this testing programme“.

34 cases (31%) will have had an impact on the total number of positive test results seen during that period (110).

It may help to explain the recent spike in infection numbers.

The number of cases in the City (7 day rolling average) increased from 96 on the 3rd March to 110 on the 7th March.

The information does emphasise the need for people to take regular COVID tests.

The authorities are under pressure to ensure that anyone planning to reopen their business in April should ensure that all staff are tested on a regular basis.

Council statement

York’s education leaders have thanked parents and pupils for their support in getting all children an young people back to school and college on Monday (8 March).

With one in three people with CPVID not showing any symptoms, all secondary school pupils were advised to get symptom free tests before returning to school.

Just under 15,000 tests were carried out for school pupils in York last week (1-7 March), showing the city’s incredible support for testing.

Attendance in York schools has also been incredibly high, with 97% of all pupils attending on Monday.

Cllr Keith Orrell, the council’s Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, said:

I know how hard the last few months have been for children, young people and parents and carers, and I’m delighted that our schools and colleges are once again open to all pupils, supporting their social, wellbeing and educational needs.

Symptom free testing is one of the key ways we can reduce the spread of the virus in the city and I’m so pleased that parents and pupils have supported the testing programme in such large numbers. It really will help us to keep schools and colleges open.

I also want to thank everyone in schools and the education and health teams who have worked hard to ensure the systems were in place to allow pupils to access the tests they needed. This has been a huge effort and I am grateful to everyone involved for making sure this happened on time for schools to open for all students on Monday.

I would urge pupils to continue to get their symptom free tests as home testing kits become available next week.”

Coronavirus York updates; 7th March 2021


For the third consecutive day there have been no COVID-19 fatalities at the York Hospital Trust. The last death occurred on the 3rd March. The death rate has now fallen to a level last seen in September 2020.

Test results

Seventeen additional positive test results have been announced today. Brings the cumulative total to 11,959.

Case numbers have reduced by 11 from 116 announced yesterday to 105 today

The rate /100k population figure has fallen to 49.86. It is the first time the rate has been below 50 since 23rd September 2020. The rate is now expected to reduce dramatically during the next few days.


Ten neighbourhoods now have fewer than three cases in each. All but four areas are now below average infection levels.



4259 PCR tests were carried out during the week ending 2nd March 2021

Of these 2.4% were positive. That is an improvement on the previous days figure of 2.7%

1562 “lateral flow” test were also conducted on 6th March

96 residents were tested at the Thanet Road site last week. It is open again tomorrow and on Tuesday

York schools open to all pupils from tomorrow

Schools in York fully reopen tomorrow (Monday). It is the first easing of lockdown 3 restrictions. More are scheduled to follow over the next 3 months.

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Coronavirus York updates; 3rd March 2021


One hospital death has been announced today. It occurred on Monday.

Test results

Eighteen additional positive test results were announced today. Brings the cumulative total to 11,906

Rate /100k population has fallen to 66.0. That is the joint lowest rate recorded this year. Trending to fall below 60 before the end of the week.

The number of cases fell from 153 yesterday to 139 today.

Case numbers continue to fall at all levels


All but 5 neighbourhoods now have below average infection rates

There has been a further increase in cases (3) in the South Bank/Dringhouses area



4437 PCR test were conducted during the week ending 26th February 2021.

Of these 3.1% were positive. This is fewer than the 3.3% recorded during the previous 7 days.

2535 “lateral flow” test were conducted on 2nd March

Returning to schools

As part of its roadmap out of the current lockdown for England, the Government has announced that all children should return to school or college from Monday 8 March.

Under the plans, all secondary school pupils and college students will be offered three symptom-free Covid tests before starting home testing (which will be arranged through your child’s school or college). This means they can get tests to make sure they are Covid-free, even if they don’t have any Covid symptoms. Each test should be taken 3 – 5 days apart. Pupils can return to school or college following their first negative test result.

Schools have been in contact with parents and carers about their arrangements, which may include getting a test at one of our symptom-free testing sites. We are encouraging children of secondary school age and their close family members (household bubble) aged 11 years and over to book a symptom-free test. You must book an appointment for each person being tested before arriving at the test centre.

You can find more information on symptom-free testing, and book an appointment, at https://www.york.gov.uk/SymptomFreeCOVIDTest.

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 www.nhs.uk/Coronavirus 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

School improvements on hold in York

It seems the York Council has decided to shelve some schemes in its school maintenance and improvements programme.

In total around £4 million of works are being slipped into next year.

Schemes which are expected to be carried out in this financial year are located at Dringhouses and Ralph Butterfield Primaries.

A start on a major extension of Fulford school is also expect to start before the end of the financial year.

The delays are blamed on COVID-19 restrictions.

Work on a replacement library at Haxby will also not now start until 2021 at the earliest.

Travel back to school safely say York Council

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City of York Council has teamed up with walking and cycling charity Sustrans to urge parents across York to try walking, cycling or scooting with their children to school to create a safer, less congested, more healthy environment for start of the new term.

As schools reopen, roads are expected to be busier than normal in September, and the council is urging road users to plan ahead when travelling around York, plan ahead and use public transport outside of peak hours and walk or cycle where possible.

Parents who can opt to leave the car at home or park (or wait with their switched engine off) away from the school entrance area will help families maintain social distancing as well as reduce congestion and air pollution. More active travel (walking, cycling or scooting) will also help support public transport to cope with Covid secure measures which have reduced capacity.

Recently released guidance from the Department for Education shows that due to physical distancing restrictions on public transport, at least 50 per cent of journeys to school of two miles or less need to be walked and cycled to allow space for those on public transport who need to travel further[1].

Around 69 per cent of children in York currently walk, cycle or scoot to school, a figure that rises up to 85 per cent in some schools during active travel incentive days[2]. The council is encouraging schools to sign up for Sustrans’ Bike to School Week from 28 September to 2 October.

The council has recently renewed Sustrans’ contract to work intensively with eight primary schools in York, helping to support an increase in children walking, cycling and scooting to school and a reduction in congestion. Following a successful pilot at Carr Junior School earlier this year, some schools will also redesign their school street, aiming to make them safer and healthier for the whole community.

At Carr Junior School Sustrans’ designers worked with children to assess the problems around the school gate and suggest improvements such as informal street crossings and build-outs. In March, Sustrans tested the designs and gathered feedback from local residents and these can now be developed through the active travel fund measures.

For more information on Bike to School week please go to: www.sustrans.org.uk/our-blog/projects/2019/uk-wide/bike-to-school-week/

Visit  www.york.gov.uk/letsbeyork and www.itravelyork.info/travel2school for further information on getting back to school safely.

Coronavirus York updates; 31st May 2020

Deaths & Cases

ONE more patient with coronavirus has died at a hospital yesterday within the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. A further four died today. The five further deaths takes the total number of Covid-19 related fatalities within the trust to 210. The trust includes York Hospital and Scarborough Hospital.

There are 456 confirmed cases in the city

Council urges caution

Following changes to the government’s coronavirus advice, social distancing and lockdown measures, we are encouraging residents to continue follow the guidance, protect the NHS and save lives.

New guidelines are set to come into action on 1 June which allow the opening of car showrooms, outdoor markets and permit groups of up to six people to meet outdoors, as long as social distancing is followed. The revised national guidance can be found here: www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

We are continuing to advise people who may want to visit to keep their trip to York on hold for now, so they can instead see the city and enjoy our attractions in full when it is safe to do so.

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

“As certain lockdown restrictions are starting to be eased, it’s of course encouraging that people will be able to see some of their family and friends again. It’s also positive to see more local businesses putting plans in place and reopening as we start on the road to recovery.

“We are continuing to look at the new ways that services right across the Council will be delivered in the coming weeks and months, as we all work together to help York recover from this pandemic.

“As part of our recovery, it is vital that residents continue their great work in following these national guidelines; especially social distancing and continuing to frequently wash hands.”

Deputy Leader of City of York Council, Cllr Andy D’Agorne, said:

“It has been great to see how York’s residents and business have pulled together over the past weeks and months to help fight coronavirus. This next easing of restrictions signals another step on the road to recovery.

“That being said, it is vital that we all continue to be vigilant. It is only through each of us playing our own small part that we can continue to reduce the number of infections and ultimately save lives going forward.”

For more information about coronavirus in York visit www.york.gov.uk/coronavirus

York’s small businesses reminded to prepare for extension to grants scheme

City of York Council is reminding small and micro businesses which have missed out on government support that its grant scheme will be extended from Monday (June 1).

City of York Council is reminding small and micro businesses which have missed out on government support that its grant scheme will be extended from Monday (June 1).

The council is using an additional £2.2m discretionary government fund to expand its own small and micros grant scheme, which has already supported over 1000  local businesses affected by the coronavirus.

The grants will benefit small businesses including those in shared offices and flexible work spaces, science parks and incubators. Regular market traders without a business rates assessment, nurseries, B&Bs paying council tax instead of business rates, and charity properties which all missed out under previous schemes will also be eligible.

The council is also now able to welcome new applications for grants from people who are self-employed with fixed property costs after the government removed a restriction on the use of the funds.

The grants will be between £1000 and £10000 depending on the size and nature of the business, with the following available:

  • Small business and childcare nurseries                        up to  £10000
  • Micro business                                                                  up to    £5000
  • B&Bs and market traders who live in York                   up to   £2,500
  • Self-employed with fixed property costs                       up to    £1000

Businesses must have been trading before 11 March 2020, have a rateable value or annual mortgage of below £51,000, and demonstrate both an ongoing fixed property cost and significant financial impact of the coronavirus. It is not available to any business eligible for any other government COVID grant.

We expect these grants to be in high demand, so please visit our  www.york.gov.uk/COVIDMicroGrant to understand if your business is eligible and what evidence you’ll need to make a successful application.

Businesses can get a message as soon as the form goes live by signing up to an e-newsletter https://www.york.gov.uk/form/EmailUpdates

The council has continued to process applications for the existing scheme in order to ensure no eligible business misses out on any funding. All outstanding applicants and previous grantees will be contacted by the council next week, as many will be eligible for a top-up under the enhanced scheme.

The council acted quickly to distribute £110m of grants and rates relief to over 3000 York businesses, and created its own £1m grant scheme to benefit over 1000 more which did not qualify for government support.

Under the discretionary fund, local authorities have been given an additional 5% of the total value of grants already distributed in York, together with some government rules and outline guidance on which businesses should benefit. However, this means councils have to use local knowledge to decide how to fairly distribute the money to benefit as many businesses as possible.

Depending on the volume of applications and the amount of additional checking and verification required, the council aims to pay all grants within four weeks.


Advice from York Council


Following recent announcements from the government, City of York Council has confirmed the arrangements and work that is taking place to safely welcome more pupils to return to school from next week.

The Government has advised that from Monday 1 June a phased return for early years settings and schools should take place where it is possible to do so safely, with pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 returning to school in smaller classes.

The city is taking a partnership approach to ensure that the changes are gradual and are based on robust risk assessments. As part of the York Schools and Academies Board (YSAB), the council is supporting schools and engaging with unions. All are prioritising the health, safety and wellbeing of pupils and staff.

Risk assessments have been being carried out at every school in the city to determine whether they can safely increase attendance from 1 June. Cleaning regimes are being put in place as part of those risk assessments, and personal protective equipment (PPE) has been delivered to Early Years settings and schools.

Schools will be guided by the number of staff they have available, size of their buildings and any other relevant issues when taking decisions about how many children they can have on site to maintain social distancing requirements.  York’s schools will continue to prioritise places for the children of key workers and vulnerable children – numbers in these groups will determine the pace of re-opening for additional year groups from 1 June. In practice, this will mean that not all schools in the city will be admitting additional year groups on 1 June, but all will continue to be open for vulnerable and key workers’ children who are encouraged to attend school.

Any decision to extend the opening of schools to additional year groups is being taken by headteachers, schools’ governing bodies or trustees following their risk assessments. They will be in contact with parents and carers to confirm the arrangements for their school including any changes to the timing of the school day.


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.