Sun-kissed city that no one wants to leave

9th March 2001 at 00:00
Ah - as in "Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York"?

OK, clever clogs. Actually, while some local education authorities may be having a winter of discontent, it is decidedly sunny in York at the moment.

The city recently won beacon status for its work in raising attainment in schools, largely with socially excluded youngsters. It also had a good inspection last year - the Office for Standards in Education called York a well-run authority, highly regarded by schools.

Good grief - a high-performing LEA? Next you'll be saying it's a really nice place!

It is - York is a lovely city. Its walled centre is dominated by York Minster, and is full of charming Georgian, Victorian and medieval streets. Over the centuries the city has been popular with invading hordes - the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings, the Normans, the Roundheads, and latterly the Tourists.

Is it popular with teachers?

Apparently so - there's no teacher recruitment crisis in York and you won't find schools on a four-day week, though there are some shortages in subjects like modern languages. It is becoming harder to recruit heads and the LEA is increasingly short of supply teachers.

York has one nursery school, 59 primary schools, 11 secondary schools, four special schools, and one pupil-rferral unit. Teacher vacancies are advertised on the City of York's website: "We're not in a position where we can't recruit staff," says Chris Edwards, acting director of education. "York is obviously an attractive place. I think the big issue is that nobody wants to leave.

"It's the quality of life. It's a very nice place and has very much a family feel to it. Most people who come in from other authorities say how different it feels in terms of relationships - particularly between schools and the LEA."

And at the end of the school day?

York has a lot going on, whether it's museums, theatre, pubs or restaurants, though one guide sums up the local cuisine as ranging from traditional Yorkshire pudding to fish and chips and grilled bar meals. A short hop from the city and you're out on the North Yorkshire Moors and the Dales.

But will I have any disposable income?

Possibly - house prices in the city for a three-bedroom semi range from around pound;60,000 for a house needing modernisation, up to pound;130,000 in some of the leafier suburbs. You could rent a three-bedroom house for around pound;500 a month.

Any famous sons or daughters?

Chocolate magnate and philanthropist Benjamin Rowntree, actress Dame Judi Dench, composer John Barry, writer Margaret Drabble.

Martin Whittaker

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