Leeds schools top of the class for lessons in being child friendly

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School across Leeds are proving they are a class act in championing the rights of children.

Headteachers are playing their role in making sure their pupils’ voices are being heard.

Pupils at Bankside Primary School, Leeds

Pupils at Bankside Primary School, Leeds

Whether it is through their school councils and student publications they want to see children shape the future of Leeds.

And Child Friendly Leeds helps make sure youngsters are given a variety of opportunities in and out of school.

Swinnow Primary School pupils recently enjoyed a trip to an amateur pantomime in Beeston - and for some it is the first time they have ever been to a theatrical production.

Headteacher Allison Chin OBE said: “There are lots of professionals in Leeds who are working together to make the city better for children.

“It’s very important that children have a voice and we as headteachers make sure our pupils voices are passed on.”

Prince Henry’s Grammar School, in Otley, became the first high school in the Yorkshire and Humberside region to achieve UNICEF’s Level One Rights Respecting School Award.

Headteacher Janet Sheriff said: “The ethos of Child Friendly Leeds is very important to us at Prince Henry’s Grammar School.

“We have always been a very inclusive school, at the heart of our community, and the principles behind Child Friendly Leeds have always been part of our partnership work, nationally and internationally.”

But she warned: “Within Leeds, the key challenge for future development to support a Child Friendly Leeds, is the essential need for strategic planning across the city to ensure that, in this period of demographic growth, there are enough places available in good or outstanding schools so young people are able to attend their school of choice.”

Georgie Sale, headteacher at City of Leeds School, said that pupils voices are vital.

She said: “I feel it is a privilege to work in a city where the council have made this great commitment to children and young people.

“In my school I have a population of eager, bright articulate young people, most of whom are new to this country. But they want to make Leeds their home and be involved and play a positive part in society.

“They have so many good ideas and making sure they have a loud voice is vital.”

Leeds is on a mission to be the best city in the country for children and young people to grow up in.

The Yorkshire Evening Post is throwing its weight behind that vision in a major new partnership.

We have heard from children and adults this week about what they like about Leeds and crucially, what they want to see change.

We also laid down a challenge to the business community to sign a pledge to give their assurances they will provide opportunities to brighten the prospects for every child living in Leeds.

Child Friendly Leeds was launched by Leeds City Council in a bid to help Leeds become one of the best cities in the UK.

And listening to the future generations who will ultimately help to shape the city is at the heart of that scheme.

The YEP is set to run a weekly page showcasing exactly what youngsters think about growing up in Leeds.

Our special Child Friendly Leeds pages will find out what is happening in classrooms across the city.

We will also find out what children like about growing up in Leeds and what changes they would like to make to see the city become even more child friendly.

We have also teamed up with Leeds City Council to become the official media partner of the first ever Child Friendly Awards.

Next week the YEP will reveal the city’s unsung heroes who have triumphed at the glittering awards ceremony which has been organised entirely by youngsters.

We are also set to go behind the scenes to find out exactly what efforts are being made to make sure that children are being listened to in Leeds.

* We want to hear your stories. Do you know an inspirational youngster who has made a difference? Email: laura.bowyer@ypn.co.uk

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