Child Friendly Leeds

Leeds Children and Young People's Plan 2023-2028

The priorities that guide our work have been developed through consultation across the city, including the views of children and young people. Ensuring that our Best City Ambition delivers for Leeds' children and young people, we will focus on:

  • children in all areas of the city having the best start in life and enjoying a healthy, happy, and friendly childhood
  • young people having the skills that enable them to realise their potential and to thrive

The way we work

Making connections

Developing quality connections, conversations, and relationships with children, families, and professionals is how we work in Leeds.

Valuing families

  • children live in families
  • families create communities
  • communities create cities

Three mindsets

Always remember... 

  • do the simple things better
  • the child is the client
  • safeguard and promote the welfare of children

Equality, diversity, and inclusion

We want Leeds to be a city of equal opportunity, an inclusive city where everyone has a fair chance and people from all backgrounds take part in community life, creating a society that is varied, vibrant and proud. The CYPP will help reduce the impact of poverty and reduce inequalities and discrimination that still exist within some of our communities within Leeds.

A relentless focus on the question...

What is it like to be a child or young person growing up in Leeds and how do we make it better?

Our plan

What we'll do

One vision

Our vision is for Leeds to be the best city in the UK and the best city for children and young people to grow up in, to thrive from early years into adulthood. We want Leeds to be an inclusive and welcoming child friendly city where children live in loving and nurturing families.

We invest in children and young people to help build an increasingly prosperous and successful city by improving outcomes and providing young people with the skills for life, as well as opportunities for play and having fun. In ensuring our children are starting well, we recognise the need for outcomes to improve faster for children and young people from vulnerable and deprived backgrounds.

Five outcomes

All children and young people:  

  1. Are safe from harm
  2. Do well at all levels of learning and have skills for life
  3. Enjoy healthy lives
  4. Have fun growing up
  5. Are active citizens who feel they have a voice and influence

Fourteen priorities

We want all children and young people to:

  1. Help children and parents to live in safe, supportive, and loving families
  2. Ensure that the most vulnerable children and young people are protected
  3. Support families to give children the best start in life
  4. Increase the number of children and young people participating and engaging in learning
  5. Improve achievement and attainment for all pupils
  6. Improve at a faster rate educational progress for pupils vulnerable to poorer learning outcomes
  7. Improve social, emotional, and mental health and wellbeing of children and young people
  8. Children and young people have safe spaces to play, hang out, and have fun
  9. Promote and enable physical activity and healthy eating
  10. Support young people to make good choices and minimise risk taking behaviours
  11. Help young people into adulthood, to develop life skills, and be ready for work
  12. Everyone takes more action to protect the environment from climate change
  13. Improve access to affordable, safe, and reliable connected transport for young people
  14. Encourage greater use of sustainable transport (such as walking, cycling, scooting, public transport) for children and young people

Three obsessions

We want all children and young people to: 

  1. Safely and appropriately reduce the number of children looked after
  2. Young people in Leeds attend school, achieve, and attain well, and continue their route of a sustained education, apprenticeship or employment destination
  3. Leeds is a healthy place for all children; and improve the timely access to healthcare when needed

How we'll do it

Helping deliver the mission at the heart of our Best City Ambition to tackle poverty and inequality and to improve the quality of life for the children and young people who call Leeds home.

The best start in life for all children

Before and after birth, we will support parents and babies to create the conditions where stress is reduced, positive bonds and attachments can form, and language and communications skills develop.

Attaining and achieving

Learning underpins wellbeing; so we will place a sharp focus on supporting learning, and children's readiness for learning, in order to support all children and young people to be our future talent, particularly those learners who are vulnerable to poorer outcomes, to realise their potential, and narrow any attainment gaps.

Early help: the right conversations in the right place at the right time

Building on what works well, and reorganising more of our services around the Restorative Early Start approach, we will focus help to where it is needed earlier.

Improving the health and wellbeing of all children and young people

Leeds is a healthy place for all children and young people, where they live within an environment that supports them to be mentally and physically healthy and have timely access to the right care and support when needed.

Challenging child poverty

In acknowledging the scale and impact of poverty on families, we will work with communities and families on children's outcomes, and support children's journeys into secure adulthood in a prosperous city.

Outstanding social work and support

Continuing our journey as an Ofsted rated 'outstanding' local authority, our Families First programme, and our investment in social work, we will ensure consistent quality across all our work with vulnerable children and young people.

Think family work family

We will consider family relationships, the role of adult behaviour, and the wider context such as friends and the local community, and how these impact on outcomes for children and young people.

How we'll know if we've made a difference

  1. Number of children looked after
  2. Number of parents that have had more than one child enter care at different times
  3. Number of children subject to a child protection plan
  4. Number of children in need
  5. Pupils achieving a good level of development at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage (end of reception)
  6. Infant mortality rates
  7. School attendance
  8. Fixed term school suspensions
  9. Pupils reaching the expected standard at the end of Key Stage 2 (end of year six)
  10. Progress 8 score for Leeds at the end of Key Stage 4 (end of year 11)
  11. Destinations of young people with special educational needs and/or a disability when they leave school
  12. Children in reception and in year six that are living with obesity
  13. Children and young people who report being happy most days in the My Health, My School Survey
  14. Timely access to the right healthcare when needed
  15. Young offenders that re-offend
  16. Under-18 conception rates
  17. Under-18 alcohol related hospital admissions
  18. Students achieving a level 3 qualification at age 19
  19. Young people not in employment, education, or training, or whose employment status is 'not known'

Behaviours that underpin everything we do

  • use outcome-based accountability and ask the question: is anyone better off?
  • use restorative practice to work with people, not do to or for them
  • we listen and respond to the voice of the child
  • we support and prioritise children and young people to have fun growing up
  • our work aims to eliminate discrimination and ensure equity, equality, and inclusion

Our city

About Leeds

  • Total population: 799,873
  • 172,651 children and young people aged under 18 (272,300 aged under 25)
  • 280 state funded schools
  • 195 different languages spoken in Leeds schools

Figures correct at December 2023.

The 12 Child Friendly Wishes 2023-28

The Child Friendly Leeds Wishes were developed in partnership with children and young people. Top issues and priorities were identified following the review of local and citywide consultations, surveys and ballots, capturing the views of over 80,000 children and young people. 

The Wishes highlight what young people think is important and what they think would make Leeds an even better city for children and young people to grow up in. 

The Wishes have influenced the priorities in the CYPP and a wishes action plan has been developed to ensure children, young people, and families are kept up to date on what actions are being taken to address the wishes. 

Updates on the 12 wishes will be part of monitoring the impact of our CYPP.

Working together

The Child Friendly Leeds initiative's ambition is to make Leeds the best city in the UK for children and young people to grow up in.

To help us make this happen, we have a Leeds Children and Young People's Partnership, which brings together leaders from the main organisations working with children and young people, to make sure the work we do keeps children safe from harm, and has a positive impact on improving outcomes.

We work with all partners to help make a difference to the lives of children and young people who live in Leeds. The CYPP is part of the strategic framework that supports the Best City Ambition, which is our overall vision for the future of Leeds. At its heart is our mission to tackle poverty and inequality, and to improve quality of life for everyone who calls Leeds home.

Find out more

For more information about our work follow us on X (formerly Twitter), or visit the Child Friendly Leeds website.

Understand how we work together to keep children and young people safe.

See our one minute guides on all aspects of children's services.

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