YEP Says, January 20: A decade on and Leeds remains a tale of two cities

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...and time to praise teachers who are a class act

MORE than a decade ago, the YEP launched its Life in Leeds investigation, which looked at the alarming divide between the city’s wealthiest and poorest.

We took the findings to Downing Street, presenting them to then Prime Minister Tony Blair. Thirteen years on, the city is still a ‘twin-track’ city. And, if we are not careful, it could also increasingly be a divided one.

Leeds has enjoyed great success over the past few decades, transforming itself in the post-industrial era. Yet not everyone has shared in this prosperity.

The trouble is that statistics of averages disguise neighbourhoods of poverty, unemployment and hardship in a city of sharp contrasts.

Furthermore, there is a strong sense that Leeds has been a victim of its own success in weathering economic storms more effectively than many other cities.

This has fostered an impression that the city can look after itself, which means when it comes to handing out funding we’re often at the back of the queue.

That’s why we’re calling on civic leaders to pledge to close the gap that still exists and help some of our city’s most vulnerable residents.

But they can only do so much. Until national government recognises the problem and starts giving Leeds its dues, narrowing the divide will continue to be an uphill battle.

Is your teacher a class act?

IF our children are going to achieve their full potential then they need teachers who bring out the best in them.

There are plenty of those in Leeds – in spite of constant government tinkering making their jobs harder.

We think those teachers who inspire the city’s youngsters to be all that they can be, despite the many challenges put in their way, deserve to be celebrated.

So get in touch and tell us about the teachers making a difference to your children or, if you’re a pupil, the teacher who makes you want to go to school. Because believe it or not, they do actually exist.