Leeds today: schools, flights, Waterfront, Hunslet, photos, poets, sport, and day trips.

This is the last BGL morning bulletin of the first half of 2012. There’s a thought to mull over when you sip your coffee and nibble your rich tea biscuit this morning. July is nearly upon us, and Leeds welcomes the high noon of the summer with… well, probably with clouds and sporadic showers. Days may be cloudy or sunny, but we of course keep going come rain or come shine.

The BBC reports that Leeds’s education chief has defended the city’s underachieving primary schools after Education Secretary Michael Gove said private sponsors should take over primary schools in special measures. Government figures show 34 out of 218 Leeds primary schools are failing to reach their minimum standards, more than anywhere else in England. However Leeds director of children’s services Nigel Richardson insists the authority is one of the “fastest improving”.

Direct flights between Leeds and London are set to resume for the first time in a year and a half, as British Airways opens its Leeds Bradford to Heathrow route. BA will run four services a day between Leeds and the capital, starting December 9th.

From the air to the deep now: this weekend it’s the Leeds Waterfront Festival. Promised to be bigger and better than ever before, venues along the waterfront will host live music, arts and dance, boat trips, and more – including the return of the Leeds Community Foundation Dragon Boat Spectacle.

(addition by Mike:) This weekend sees street food festival Northern Streats occupying Briggate. If you’ve got a hankering for street food for lunch over the weekend then seriously, check it out. Also open late tonight, for after work nibbles.

In South Leeds meanwhile, Hunslet prepares for its 2012 festival. South Leeds Life previews the fun and games, including performances from the Hunslet Club and the Supreme Starlets Majorettes, circus skills and zumba sessions, as well as the largest inflatable slide in Europe called ‘The Titanic’.

The folks at The People’s Exhibition are creating a photo forest for Kirkstall Festival 2012, and are looking for your contributions. They’re seeking out pictures of everything and anything you love about Kirkstall and the rest of the city, whether artistic, sentimental, fun, or just a bit odd. More details here.

We at BGL are big fans of ‘We Are Poets’, the film that is taking cinema audiences by storm far and wide. Having opened last night at the Hyde Park Picture House, The Guardian offers a brief review of a film which follows the idealistic, energetic young Leeds poets who take on the world at a poetry slam in Washington DC. If you haven’t seen it, go see it. If you have, go see it again.

We’re all a little sports mad at the moment. This week no sooner had England’s briefly-kindled hopes for Euro 2012 glory been dashed than the Olympic flame burned its way from the Town Hall and through London and the rest of the region. On the home front meanwhile, talks about the future ownership of Leeds United FC continue to dominate the back pages. Earlier this week, it was asked whether the city’s football club (as a local employer, community organisation, and long-standing bastion of Leeds identity) really belongs in our news round-up here at BGL. Phil Kirby has a timely reflection on one sports writer he has stumbled upon at The Culture Vulture. The latest Leeds Daily Photo meanwhile offers a glimpse of a slightly more sedate sporting life enjoyed by some outside office hours in the city.

And finally, the YEP reports on new figures from tourism agency VisitEngland, which confirms that Leeds is one of the country’s most popular places for a day out

Well we know that already, didn’t we? Wherever this weekend takes you, have a good one, and all the best from us.

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