Keeping open all Children’s Centres, reducing numbers of children in care, the only city in the UK whose Children’s services are rated ‘Outstanding’, English and Maths results improving at 4x national average, tackling period poverty, supporting children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities as they move into post-16 education, creating over 11,000 new primary school places – the Labour Council has worked hard to make Leeds a good place for children to grow up in.
“Our ambition is for Leeds to be the best city for all our children and young people to grow up in – a Child Friendly City.
We have seen the number of children in Leeds in care safely reduced through investment in early help, working with families and a council-wide commitment to children and young people. This is in direct contrast to the national picture which has shown Conservative cuts to be having a hugely detrimental effect on our children and young people, with the number of children going into care nationally increasing by 7%.
Under Labour, Leeds City Council has not closed any children’s centres.
Keeping all of Leeds’ 56 children centres open has been an absolute priority for us and makes sense morally, economically and for the future of those young people growing up. Unless children have the best start in life there can be a whole host of problems further down the line.
This focus has led to Ofsted finding Leeds City Council’s Children’s Services “Outstanding.”
We are one of only four Councils in the UK to be Outstanding, and the only city. Labour investment has paid off.
Labour retained funding for the Education Improvement service. While schools results in Leeds are not yet where we would want them to be, this continued investment from Labour has seen English and Maths results at High School improve almost four times faster than the equivalent nationally.
We have seen increasing child poverty, caused by ideological austerity from the Conservative Party in Government.
With increasing austerity we have seen a huge increase in period poverty. We knew already that food banks are always desperate to stock more sanitary products, but we are now seeing young girls missing school while on their period, or choosing between eating and buying tampons.
Under Labour, Leeds City Council began a pilot scheme to tackle period poverty, working with different schools and speaking to the girls and young women who know best about what they need. In partnership with a number of businesses across Leeds, we will be rolling out a city wide scheme of free sanitary products in schools, libraries and community hubs later this year.
Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) need a particular focus and Labour will support these children and their families throughout their education and beyond. While the Government cut money that would be used to support these children, Leeds City Council is now working with families of children with SEND to do what is best for them. We have an improved transport scheme in consultation with families and we have put new measures in place to ensure that young people with SEND continue to receive five days provision when they move into post-16 learning.
Leeds City Council has already created over 11,000 new primary school places and we are now looking to create more secondary school places to meet demand. We will open a new school for children with SEND, as well as ensure provision for post-19 education increases, and provide secondary school places across the city.
The Conservative government continues to make providing an education for our children difficult through cutting funding for all schools, refusing to repair school buildings and forcing schools to academise. Labour in Leeds will fight against this, and always push for the funding the children of Leeds deserve.”