YEP Says, December 12: This is a great city – it’s time to prove it to the rest of Europe

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...and primary schools’ progress must now be maintained

IF Leeds is to move forward and become the city we want it to be then it needs to think big.

Only by showing courage and ambition can it move up a league and firmly establish itself as a major power – both in Britain and on the world stage.

The good news is that slowly but surely the confidence required to make that leap is manifesting itself.

Previous administrations may well have decided not to put their hat in the ring to stage one of the planet’s biggest sporting events.

But the astonishing success of this summer’s hosting of the Tour de France justified Leeds City Council’s gamble in spades.

Taking the decision to go it alone in the building of the city’s first ever entertainment arena in order to maximise returns was another bold step. Again, history has shown the move to have been the right one.

Putting the city forward as a candidate European Capital of Culture now continues this momentum and new-found belief. In truth, it would be more puzzling if Leeds didn’t put in a bid, especially given Hull’s recent City of Culture win.

It is time for Leeds to step out of the shadow of other cities and shout about what it has to offer.

The Grand Depart showed that Leeds has what it takes to compete with the very best – as well as the rewards that such a raised profile can bring with it. If youngsters fail to get a good grasp the basics in their formative years then the building blocks that will enable them to flourish at high school and beyond simply won’t be there.

Given that the greatest barrier to establishing this solid grounding is background, it is heartening that the latest primary school results show that the attainment gap between poorer children and those from more well-off families has been narrowed.

But schools and families need more support and resources if this progress is to be maintained. Too many children are still being held back by the effects of poverty on their ability to learn and achieve.

Primary progress must be maintained

IF youngsters fail to get a good grasp the basics in their formative years then the building blocks that will enable them to flourish at high school and beyond simply won’t be there.

Given that the greatest barrier to establishing this solid grounding is background, it is heartening that the latest primary school results show that the attainment gap between poorer children and those from more well-off families has been narrowed.

But schools and families need more support and resources if this progress is to be maintained. Too many children are still being held back by the effects of poverty on their ability to learn and achieve.

PIC: Simon Hulme

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