Leeds today: cleaning up, children’s education, Light Night, Ian Brown, Falun Gong and at risk buildings.

Morning! This particular Thursday has started off a bit damp; reports suggest it’ll be hot and humid today – perhaps not the best day to run a marathon – but it’ll freshen up over the weekend.

A programme designed to keep streets clean in Harehills through education was such a success it’s being rolled out across east and north-east Leeds. The plan was to speak to as many homes and businesses as possible, then follow up with enforcement if people started deliberately littering again. Interesting – we’d like to see if it remains the case in six months time – as user education is a very good, but expensive tool.

Talking about education, the Minister for Education has been softening the ground for an intervention in Leeds and Middlesborough. Michael Gove has made a speech arguing that the academies programme will be “accelerated” in Leeds because although we’re not the worst-performing LEA in the country we’re amongst those who don’t really pay any attention to Gove’s education plans. The Indy says:

Other councils whose records are on a par with Leeds and Middlesbrough are said to have been more co-operative in discussions with ministry officials over improving standards or “coming quietly”.

LCC has something to say about this, in the Post:

Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services at Leeds City Council, said: We have not received any notification that Leeds will be subject to any special attention from the DfE. We are one of the fastest-improving local authorities in the country. Of the 30 Ofsted inspections we have had since January, 24 were rated as good and only one was identified as inadequate.”

Basically, though: because Leeds is not swallowing the “Academies are magic ponies” pill the DfE is going to start interfering, when there are other local authorities in the country that are more in need of assistance. We’re a testing ground, basically.

The YEP reports that Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds NW, has called for a different national anthem for the England football team because GSTQ is a national anthem, one that covers Wales and Scotland (who both have their own anthems). Yes, Silly Season has started.

Light Night will be happening this year! Just not as we knew it. Applications for artists to participate opened yesterday and instead of being right across the city there will be about 50 items on the programme, all concentrated around Millennium Square; also, there is a theme to the event. If you’d like to take part as an artist then get your hands on a form and fill it out. Speaking as someone who did it last year it’s very rewarding but hard work.

South Leeds Life has a very interesting article on buildings at risk in the city. These include Temple Works, Stank Hall barn (recently damaged by fire) and Mount St Mary’s. The report on these buildings (and others) will be discussed today by the Joint Plans Panel. Do you have something to say about this? About York Road Library? Get in touch!

There’s an exhibition coming to the Corn Exchange. What makes it noteworthy is that the artwork in the exhibition takes a close look at the banned Chinese movement Falun Gong. The paintings show how Falun Gong has changed people’s lives, for better (through spirituality) or worse (by being suppressed by the Chinese government). This exhibit has been on tour for a while and is often argued against by Chinese representatives of the city it visits, so given how the visiting Olympic team made a fuss over the Dalai Lama one wonders what they’ll make of this. Corn Exchange, 2-16 July.

Leeds Art Walk is happening again next week. This month they’ll be taking in Lifton Studios, LCAD and the White Cloth gallery.

Edited to add: Sock of the Day, from Hannah Goddard! It’s all about the Roy Lichtenstein. Or maybe superheroes.

And finally, over at the Northerner Martin Wainright posts a fond farewell to outgoing AD at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Ian Brown. Shame we missed the party.

That’s it for today. As per usual if you have anything you’d like us to mention of feature then please get in touch! We love to hear your opinions on how we’re doing, too – again, do let us know what we could be doing better. Thanks for reading!

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4 Responses to Leeds today: cleaning up, children’s education, Light Night, Ian Brown, Falun Gong and at risk buildings.

  1. Sarah Covell says:

    The former york road library is a complete mess – but the owner has no reason to value it as it was sold to him by leeds city council for SEVENTEEN THOUSAND POUNDS – when it had a book value of at least £200,000. Try as we may we have never had a journalist prepared to take this further. We have evidence by the bucket full but never get past a promise of publicity and then the curtains come down and a brick wall goes up. can somebody tell me WHY?

  2. Paul Thomas says:

    Is Harehills being used for experimentation in social control or something? First Leeds Citizen reports on proposals to impose a DPPO to allow police to confiscate alcohol off people in public, and now the council is spending money on ‘education and enforcement’ against ‘environmental crime’, i.e. littering.

  3. mary Man says:

    Amnesty International states in their Annual Report 2012:
    “The authorities continued to pursue a systematic, nationwide, often violent campaign against the Falun Gong, a spiritual group banned since 1999… The government was in the second year of a three-year campaign to increase the ‘transformation’ rates of Falun Gong practitioners, a process through which individuals were pressured, often through mental and physical torture, to renounce their belief in and practice of Falun Gong. Practitioners who refused to renounce their faith were at risk of escalating levels of torture and other ill-treatment. The authorities operated illegal detention centres, informally referred to as ‘brainwashing centres’, for this process. Falun Gong sources reported that one practitioner died every three days while in official custody or shortly after release, and said that thousands remained unaccounted for.”

  4. Pingback: Leeds today: lights, film, lit, rugby, GCSEs, housing, pub, and Morley. | Beyond Guardian Leeds

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