IMPROVEMENTS in the lives of Kirklees’ youngsters were welcomed at last night’s full council meeting, held at Huddersfield Town Hall.
Councillors received an updated Cabinet Members’ portfolio report which outlined developments in the area of Engaging Life Chances for Children and Young People.
Major improvements included:
The approval of 39 new foster homes in the borough
Confirmation from Ofsted that, following an unannounced inspection, the arrangements for keeping children in care safe are “good”.
New designs for family support and children’s centres
More than 900 additional children have taken up free school meals (which has increased the Pupil Premium by more than £370,000)
The number of NEETs (people not in education, employment or training) continues to fall
The gap between national averages and Kirklees’ schoolchildren’s performance at Foundation and Key Stages 2 and 4 is narrowing
The report stated that the improvements for young people come at a time when more children are being taken into care and there is increased pressure on services for vulnerable children and families.
The Cabinet Members’ report on Supporting Older People to Be Active, Healthy and Included was also accepted at the meeting.
Improvements for the aged were not as easy to quantify. The councillors’ stated aim was to make Kirklees a good place to grow old and to engage the whole council in the Ageing Well agenda.
Currently more than 15% of the Kirklees population is over 65, and this will rise by 42% by 2030.