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 Leeds’ Favourite Parenting Magazine // JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 // ISSUE 26

Moorlands School A unique school offering Opportunity, Quality and Achievement Founded in 1898, Moorlands School is dedicated to providing a first class education for girls & boys aged 2 to 13 in a warm, friendly environment. The school is conveniently located in Weetwood, North Leeds, within its own beautiful grounds and offers ample off road parking as well as: • Dedicated computer, art & music facilities • Science laboratories • Indoor heated swimming pool • Sports hall and climbing wall • Sports fields • Specialist subject teaching • 7.30am - 6pm wrap around care

Happy children eager to learn Independent Independent preparatory preparatory school providing providing education a high standard standard of educ ation for fo or boys boys and girls aged 3-11 years years old.

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Richmond House School Where children are happy to lear learn rn

Access to weekly swimming, IT, dance and music lessons for all our nursery children


Tuesday 5th March 2013, 9am – 9am 12 noon Friday 5th & Saturday 6th October, – 12 noon 170 Otle Otley ey Road, Road, Leeds LS16 5LG 5LG

To To arrange a visit please call 0113 275 2670

For further information, please telephone:

0113 278 5286 or visit our website Foxhill Drive, Weetwood Lane, Leeds, LS16 5PF

    Ashville Pre-Prep School is a purpose built school for children aged 4-7

  A fun interactive session for pre-school children and their parents. Children will be invited to engage in a range of activities, including story telling, arts and crafts and even feeding the guinea pigs! At the end of the session parents will be offered an informal tour of the school whilst children enjoy a snack. Come and see what makes Ashville different. Wednesday 16th January, Wednesday 13th February & Wednesday 20th March 9.30am - 11.00am Ashville College, Green Lane, Harrogate HG2 9JP 01423 566358

What’s inside…




Welcome Back…


HAPPY NEW YEAR! So the decorations are back in the attic, the Michael Bublé CD is put away for another year and there’s only mini Bountys left in the Celebrations box. Christmas is over and all we’ve got to look forward to is the month of moaning that is January. I’m not a fan of resolutions. I never keep them so find myself disappointed which only fuels the misery of this dark and dismal time of year. As a result, I stopped making them some time ago. What I do instead is set myself a few tasks and this year more than ever, spend a moment or two to count the challenges and the blessings the year ahead will bring. I have a house move to plan. My youngest daughter is changing schools in September and I’m about to hit a BIG birthday. I can’t say which one as my two girls still think I’m 21. I’m not and this year my real age will be displayed in large silver balloons and on big long banners for all to see. I don’t feel like I’m growing old. To be honest, I don’t even feel like a grown up yet. I won’t be giving up my secret stash of Percy Pigs or heading to the gym every morning. I won’t be denying myself the end of week Sauvignon Blanc or my regular trip to Costa. Life is far too short to spend even a month in denial. Instead I will be planning, celebrating and spending a bit more time being grateful for what I’ve got instead of trying to change it. I’m grateful for my family. I’m grateful for my friends and I’m grateful for the kindness of near strangers. Over the past few months I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of emails and letters sent by you all offering your thoughts. So often we travel through our busy lives thinking no one really cares about the trials and tribulations of the person who stands next to you at the school gates or in a supermarket queue. The messages I’ve had since the last issue show that’s just not the case. I thank you all for that. So forget denial this New Year. Don’t give up the wine and the chocolate. Get it out and share it. Now that’s a resolution worth keeping. Best wishes for 2013.


Mums Mean Business visits BAA RAM EWE






How to make the PERFECT PARTY BAG


Families Leeds’ PARTY TIPS


DYSLEXIA – How to spot the signs


Preparing your child for a SIBLING



CIRCULATION: 18,000 copies printed NEXT DEADLINE: Thursday 14th February. If you want to advertise contact CONTACT US: PO BOX 403, BARDSEY, LEEDS LS17 1EP 01937 579 065 • 07764 943 789 DESIGNED BY: COVER PHOTO: Thanks to Anna Louise Crossley for our fantastic New Year cover image. You can see more of her work at or contact her on 07970 512 552. PRINTED BY: Warners, Bourne, Lincolnshire PE10 9PH

Sarah Butters

Families Leeds® is distributed free of charge to schools, nurseries, playgroups, clubs and classes, selected retail outlets and sports centres. Distribution is across ALL LS postcodes. Families Leeds® is part of a larger group of magazines headed by Families SW London®. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under licence. We take every care when preparing this magazine, but publishers and distributors – which include schools – cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers nor for the accuracy of the contents nor any consequences.

anna louise crossley photography 07970 512 552



Nominated for NATIONAL AWARD




Congratulations to Wetherby toy shop Treasures who could be named Britain’s Best Toy Shop in 2013. The shop has been nominated as Independent Toy Retailer of the Year. “We are delighted just to be nominated,� says Treasures owner Zhara Armstrong. “Our customers know what a super toy shop we are. It’s great to get national recognition for it!� The winner will be announced at the London Toy Fair on the 22nd January. Good Luck to Zhara and her team!

Happy Birthday STIR KRAZY KIDS!


Get Your Skates on this JANUARY

It’s always great to celebrate the birthday of a successful local business. Stir Krazy Kids is a year old this February and has spent the past 12 months cooking up a storm across Leeds and beyond. “It’s so busy,� says Cooking Cathie, founder of Stir Krazy Kids. “I’m running more and more children’s cookery parties and I’ve got some great themed workshops for the holidays in 2013.� To celebrate, Cathie is running some birthday party workshop during February half term in North Leeds. If you’re interested in joining in the fun, call 07725 083 959

You may think New Year is over but it’s not! Chinese New Year celebrations are about to begin and Flex Dance are offering schools the chance to join in. Sam and Steph are running Chinese Dance Days in schools through February. Children will take part in a 45 minute workshop where they’ll learn ribbon dancing and the famous dragon dance. To book a workshop at your school, contact Flex Dance on 07921 222 710

Wrap up and head to Millennium Square in Leeds this January to have a go on the city’s real ice rink. It’s the 13th year of the Ice Cube in Leeds and 2013 promises to be the best yet. There’s a nursery rink for under 8s and Ice Marshalls on hand to help with tuition and safety. Next to the main rink there’s a snow slide for some seriously cool fun and for tired mums, there’s the Dolomites CafÊ. The rink opens Friday 25th January through until Sunday 24th February. To enter our competition to win a family ticket, turn to page 11.

Teach your baby the enjoyment of water! Sing and play through our structured awards programme and see your baby progress to a confident little swimmer. Babies from 6 weeks old to 6 years old.

Swims at... Batley l Ossett l Leeds l Bradford l York l Harrogate l Pocklington

For details call 01757 229880 or visit

Local MP hands out ACTING HONOURS Stagecoach students in Leeds welcomed Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew to their school. He was there to hand out LAMDA certificates won by students who attend Stagecoach at Ralph Thoresby School. “When students reach grade 4 and above, the exams are equivalent to a GCSE pass A – C. I was delighted Stuart Andrew was able to come along as it helped underline how useful these qualifications are,� says Stagecoach Principal Ken Davison.

FAMILIES LEEDS | January/February 5



SWIMMING LESSONS Small class sizes • Teacher in pool • All ages & abilities

New Leeds Children’s Mayor A Bardsey schoolboy is preparing to address Leeds City Council this month as the city’s new Children’s Mayor. 10 year old Oliver Larking won the competition with his manifesto championing Open Aire Active Zones, aimed at getting families outside and active. He’ll present that manifesto to the full council this January. We wish him well.

Classes at The Grammar School at Leeds Mercure Parkway, Bramhope Moorlands School & Temple Moor High School

0844 264 1102 (Local call rate)

Fulneck pupils welcome top trophy

Pupils at Fulneck School had the opportunity to play host to the Super League Trophy. Following Leeds’ dramatic victory in the Super League Grand Final, coaches from Leeds Rugby Foundation visited Fulneck Junior School to        show off the trophy and talk to the children.    

 “Many of our pupils are keen Rugby League fans so this was a superb opportunity to get within touching distance of this magnificent cup,â€? said Fulneck Headteacher David Goulbourne. • 0113 257 0235

Speaking success for Richmond House pair Two Year 6 pupils from Richmond House School are celebrating after taking 1st and 3rd place in a Yorkshire wide Inter Schools Public Speaking Competition. Clara Schlosshan won the L J Warrington Trophy with her argument that too much TV and too many computer games are bad for our health. She beat off competition from 40 other Year 6 pupils to take the title. Third place went to 11 year old Holly Sugarman, also from Richmond House. Congratulations girls! • 0113 275 2670

School Open Days 2013 Wednesday 16th January, Wednesday 13th February & Wednesday 20th March at ASHVILLE COLLEGE • HARROGATE • 01423 566 358 Stay and Play sessions from 9.30 – 11am in the Pre-Prep. A chance for children to experience the school environment and for parents to take a tour. Monday 4th February & Friday 15th March at FULNECK SCHOOL • PUDSEY • 0113 257 0235 Open morning in Nursery and Junior School. Tuesday 26th February at MOORFIELD SCHOOL • BEN RHYDDING • ILKLEY • 01943 607 285 Foundation Stage Open Day Visit Nursery and Reception between 9.30am and 3pm and see a normal school day in action. Tuesday 5th March at MOORLANDS SCHOOL • WEETWOOD • LEEDS • 0113 278 5286 Open morning from 9am – 12 noon.



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FAMILIES LEEDS | January/February

The ➚

Diary of a



DAD… Families Leeds columnist Claire Bottomley celebrates the visiting grandparents as tennis class looms. When it comes to baby and toddler activities, we’ve all been there and – in some cases literally – got the miniature T-shirt. I, like you, have sung. I’ve signed. I have massaged my crying infant. I have submerged the disgruntled little chap in a swimming pool and got stuck in at messy play. When we signed up to our latest class – tennis – I must confess I was hoping to take on a less pivotal role. In truth, I was secretly planning the classic pose of the imperfect mum – ‘watching’ from the sidelines whilst also casting a careful eye over my smart phone. Oh what a rookie error. The goal-posts have changed slightly, but my presence on the field is still required. Rather than marshalling him into and through activities, I am now needed to be more of a motivational coach and sports psychologist. Don’t get me wrong, as an older child he is far more focused and independent, following the teacher’s instructions with the various impressive warm-up exercises. But when it comes to practising at the net, parental input is required. His attention can wander and if he doesn’t master something straight away there’s always that risk of a McEnroe moment. So, particularly as I was heavily pregnant, I was grateful when my mum and dad decided to accompany us to a class. Dear old Grandma and Grandpa, visiting from the sticks. It would be nice for them, I thought, and hopefully they’d pick up a few foam balls. What a revelation, then, when I realised I had in fact brought along Judy Murray and side kick. While she spoils him rotten in real life, the boy soon realised that there’s no slouching under coach Grandma when you’re on court. The local tennis club’s Andre and Steffi in their day, Mum and Dad may be a little less sprightly now, but casting off their fleece jackets and darting around the church hall, flicking up balls between their feet and racquet, there was something quite impressive about them. And they knew how to get results. When the young protégé did get fed up, the veterans performed a quick-fire rally, which in no time had him wrestling a racquet from them, keen to get back in the game. So, there was nothing left for me to do but trust the match to Judy, while I looked on, proud as punch. Now that’s what I call a result.

Our Dad columnist Jim Cardwell looks forward to the New Year and some new ears for Grandpa. “Our Grandpa is 73 years old” is one of the more entertaining facts my kids share with anyone who shows an interest in how old they are. It is both factually correct and endearing, especially when followed by the ages of the remaining family members, in strict descending numerical order of course. At 42 years old, I’m in the upper middle of the pack, with my own bonus fact “Dad’s the same age as our old pre-school”. It’s comments like these that are highlights of watching Little Miss Fidget and Boy Wonder grow up. But the aforementioned senior family member has been missing out. Even though I have no medical training, I realise that my parents won’t be around forever. For this reason, combined with the fact that my parents live a long way away, in a previous New Year’s resolution I committed to meet up with these distant grandparents at least two or three times a year. We’ve managed to keep this commitment over the past couple of years. However, I’m pleased that as we start this New Year the kids may be about to discover a whole new enriched relationship with their Grandpa. Grandpa, although now retired, has had a varied life with his principal previous occupations comprising teaching, thatching (yes, as in straw on roofs) and being a jazz musician. One of these occupations has left him with damage to his hearing. (No, not teaching, kids were quieter in his era.) After a period of many years struggling on he is finally getting his ears sorted out. Following a delicate shot-blasting procedure, he is now waiting in an NHS queue for his standard-issue hearing aid. For me, this can’t come soon enough. In the six to seven years that my kids have co-existed on this planet with their Grandpa, I’m not sure that they’ve yet had a chat that wasn’t punctuated with difficulty due to the perfect storm of the kids’ rapid-fire delivery and my Dad’s defective ears. That’s a great shame. It is not that all the newly-detected sounds from Little Miss Fidget and Boy Wonder are going to be fascinating. However, Grandpa may actually now have some meaningful discussion with them. And I’m looking forward to seeing them get more from each other’s company, with the kind of humorous exchanges they already share with other members of the family. We’re relying on our national treasure of the NHS to sort out the family treasure in Grandpa. New Year plus new lugs equals happy family.


{BUSINESS} IIVerity Britton is late. She’s had to drop her two year oldII IIson Vinnie at nursery and battle through the rush hour trafficII IIto make it to her wool shop Baa Ram Ewe for opening time.II Frankly I don’t care. Michael Bublé is singing to me from the iPod in the corner and I’m surrounded by soft, fluffy balls of inspiration. Walking into this former cow shed in the heart of Headingley is like pulling on a very warm, very cosy jumper – a homemade one of course. Verity gave up a successful career in radio three years ago to open Baa Ram Ewe. It was a way of carrying on a passion she inherited from her family while building her own business. “My Mum’s family have always been knitters,” says Verity. “I remember being taught by my Grandma and making a complete hash of it. It was part of my childhood. In 2005 Mum passed away from cancer and two things happened. I inherited A LOT of wool and I developed a desire to see her legacy and my Grandma’s legacy continue. They were both gone but I wanted to see their spirit live on.” Baa Ram Ewe is that spirit. Everyone is welcome here, regardless of how many scarves you’ve failed to finish. This is a shop for both the veteran yarn lover and the novice knitter. Verity and her business partner Jo not only sell every variety of wool one can imagine, they also run their own workshops to help you kick start your knitting habit, or brush up your old skills. “When I used to go into wool shops, I was put off by the stern matriarchal figure

staring down on me,” says Verity. “Here, it doesn’t matter what skills you have. When we opened, I had a quarter of the skills I do now. I’ve learnt along with my customers which I think makes us more inclusive. Our message now is, we want to teach you. Just come in and be inspired.” Verity’s enthusiasm is infectious but she admits the past few years haven’t been easy. She’s had to learn how to combine running her own business during a seemingly never-ending recession with being a mum. She describes herself as an optimist and says she loves juggling the challenges she faces at work, with motherhood even when her two worlds meet head on. “Yesterday we had a high powered business meeting at my house while Vinnie watched ‘In the Night Garden’!,” she laughs. “I’m lucky that I have an amazing business partner, we have amazing staff and I can spend time with Vinnie at home. I’m still working on marketing or on the online store, but I can be flexible. That wouldn’t have been an option in my old career.” Homemade is big business. The shop has attracted thousands of fans here in Yorkshire but their latest venture has them attracting attention from much further a-field. Verity and Jo have created their own Baa Ram Ewe yarn, made from wool from rare breed Yorkshire sheep. They’ve





Our magical dance classes teach the basics of ballet in a fun, informal environment and were voted a favourite pre-school activity in Leeds by Netmums. Classes for children from 9 months to 5 years taught by professionally trained teachers in Horsforth, Pudsey, Beeston, Morley, Tingley and close to the city centre.

Contact 07702 965 932 •

also teamed up with one of the country’s top wool designers to create a beautiful book of patterns called ‘Born and Bred’. These are home grown patterns using home grown wool inspired by Yorkshire’s past. “These are gorgeous, modern, wearable designs for kids, adults and there’s some homeware too,” explains Verity. “This reflects OUR personality and shows people that it’s a modern hobby. You can create beautiful things from beautiful yarns. We hope it will inspire people to get knitting!” And that’s Verity’s mission – to pass on the passion she learnt from her mother and grandmother. Her shop has already got the grown ups knitting, but now she’s got her eyes on the next generation. Baa Ram Ewe has run a series of workshops for children, and now Verity wants to go into schools to teach the skills she learnt as a child. It’s all about passing something on – be that a passion or a homemade jumper. “There’s something wonderful about making a garment for you, for your baby, for your child. It’s made with love. It lasts. It can be passed down. It’s special. That’s what Baa Ram Ewe is all about.” Visit Baa Ram Ewe on Otley Road, Headingley. 0113 278 1788

ch & S p a n i s h f o r C h



Fun classes for children aged 2 –11 and their parent/carer With puppets, songs, craft, stories and snacks Leeds, Roundhay, Horsforth, Harrogate & York We’re expanding: teachers required

Tel 0113 3470350


FAMILIES LEEDS | January/February



Thinking of trying out Tennis Tots? If you sign up in January new members will get 20% off their lessons. There’s a new session at Cookridge Hall on a Tuesday afternoon from January to add to the sessions in Alwoodley, Horsforth, Headingley and Roundhay. Take a look at the full time table at • 07753 800 723

NEW STEPS Prepare to put on the Ritz in these fun packed dance classes this January. Diddi Dance is taking on the Charleston in 2013 and you’re invited to come along. “Come and try a FREE trial class,â€? invites Cath Hale. “We hope to see some real personality in these dances and we’ll have all the usual Diddi Dance fun as well.â€? Classes are available across Leeds and Harrogate. • 07917 757 566

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Felicidades to our friends at Little Fidgets on their new Spanish CD. ‘On the Move with Spanish for Fidgets’ is packed with 20 actions songs and rhymes to help children learn the language. “We want to help children learn new words and phrases in a memorable way,� says Lucy Amos. “It’s great to listen to in the car!�

NEW TEACHER We welcome a new teacher to the Jo Jingles Leeds family in Boston Spa. Charlotte will re-launch the classes there on 9th January 2013. “We’ve also got Big Jo coming to Yorkshire in March,â€? says Paula Ridley from Jo Jingles. “We’ll be at Eureka running a weekend of sessions. Watch our website for more details!â€? • 01977 650 455

NEW WORKSHOP Scrumptious Saturday workshops are running from the end of January. The sessions are for 4 – 11 year olds and give children the chance to make lots of different types of food. It kicks off with Winter Warmers on 26th January with plans for a Beautiful Baking workshop. Easter Treats and Greek Classics will follow. To book, email Katherine at • 07737 966 786



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We welcome Vicky Bannister to the helm of MusicBugs Leeds. She takes over from Families’ friend Nicola Lawlor who ran the business for 3 years. Vicky, who has been teaching MusicBugs classes under Nicola says she’s excited by the new challenge. “It’s my perfect job – singing, dancing and acting daft! I hope I can make Nicola proud and continue in her successful footsteps.� Good Luck to Vicky and we wish all the very best to Nicola.

Music is Fun with Jo Jingles! Music


Movement Classes

for babies & pre-school children 3 months to 5 years NO JOINING FEE

For details on classes in:

WakeďŹ eld (Sandal, Stanley & Newmillerdam), Ossett, Pontefract, Normanton, Ackworth, Garforth, Wetherby, Boston Spa & Harrogate Call Paula on 01977 650455

NEW TEACHER The team welcomes a new coach to the classes in Wetherby. Local LTA coach Louise Bottomley joins to teach the popular pre-school sessions from January. “We’re delighted to have Louise onboard,� says Caroline Buncall from Tennis Tykes. “She has a strong background and a wealth of experience.� Book your FREE taster lesson by calling Caroline 07843 342 662



Friday 1.30pm Fir Tree Lane, Alwoodley &

||There’s a fairy under the floorboards at the Scout Hut on Fir Tree|| ||Lane and everyone can hear her snoring. Laura Jakes has got her|| ||Friday afternoon class pulling stars from the sky to crumble into|| ||stardust to keep the fairy asleep. Welcome to the world of Dance|| ||Bugs where the children are, for 45 minutes, taken on a music|| ||and movement journey to a host of other worlds.||

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Dance Bugs is a popular pre-school class for boys and girls. It’s not about tutus and tiaras. This is about using these children’s imagination to give them an introduction to movement, co-ordination and creativity. “We want to develop the pre-school skills of marching, skipping, jumping, hopping and balance,â€? explains Laura. “Dance Bugs uses lots of story telling adventures to teach those skills, building up confidence as we go.â€? As well as making stardust and listening to a snoring fairy, today’s Dance Bugs will discover a sleeping giant and head into space. It’s an exhausting session that gets the children up and active even when the weather outside is frightful. “It’s great for them to come here and explode!â€? says Laura. “Kids aren’t fit enough these days and in the winter months, it is hard to spend time outside. This class allows them to let off steam, builds up their confidence and their co-ordination as well as being really great fun.â€? Dancing is no longer just for the girls. With the popularity of street dance and the focus on great male dancers on shows like Britain’s Got Talent, dancing has become cool for little boys too. Laura says having boys in the session has changed the way she approaches the Dance Bug adventures. “The boys bring a different element to the class. Dancing isn’t about being pink and fluffy. It’s about movement and co-ordination. With the boys in the class, the girls realise they don’t always have to be princesses. They can be pirates too!â€? During the session, parents are asked not to watch so the mini movers concentrate on Laura and the adventures the group are having. They will get the chance to see their children dance at the end of this term when they put on a story themed show. “I’m thinking of using the book ‘Percy the Park Keeper’ as inspiration,â€? reflects Laura. “It’s great to use a story the children are familiar with because they will help develop the movements and that makes the show really special.â€? Before the class comes to an end there’s the small matter of the sad fairy caught in a giant web to sort out. As the children hunt for the stardust they created earlier, a few of them check the fairy under the floorboards is still sleeping. And despite the noise above, she is. • 0113 295 0126

A fun and educational tennis play and skills programme for children from 2 years E FRE IAL


Classes in North Leeds To try a class or for more information please contact Sara on 0844 504 0964 or email

Classes in Ilkley, Harrogate, North Leeds & Wetherby For information call Caroline Buncall on 07843 342 662 •


JAMBO WHEN: WHERE: • SStimulating timulating m multi-sensory b baby aby classes classe • EExciting xciting toddler classes todd • EEducational ducational pre-school p ssessions. essions. Call for your FREE trial session

C Call all E Elizabeth lizabeth o on n0 0113 113 2 232 32 8131 8131



Monday & Wednesday 12.30 – 2pm St Matthew’s Church Hall, Chapel Allerton

||“Jambo!” Nattylyn Jeffers greets the parents, carers|| ||and children arriving at her Wednesday afternoon drop|| ||in session in Chapel Allerton.|| “It’s an African word for hello. I want people to feel welcome from the minute they walk in,” she explains. And looking at the faces coming through the door, they do. Nattylyn describes Jambo as a cultural arts, music and movement class with storytelling with a bit of massage thrown in. If you only want to do one session a week, this would cover most of the sensory bases! Nattylyn uses the Alexander Technique as her guide and has clearly listened to the needs of local parents when planning the sessions. “This class is for children from birth to 4 years old. I’ve done that so parents with more than one child feel welcome, as well as the many childminders who work in the area. This is a class that will stretch and stimulate children whatever their age.” The session begins with an informal meet and greet half hour. It’s a chance for the group to gather, chat and eat the lunch Nattylyn encourages parents to bring along. After that she turns up the cultural music and starts the movement part of the session. “I’m a qualified Nursery Nurse so I like the idea of a semi structured session,” explains Nattylyn. “There’s opportunities for free play with the toys we have laid out and then we introduce more structured activities to keep the children interested. It works!” After movement comes a story, again with a cultural feel. Before the session moves to relaxation and reflection there’s the chance to work on some gross motor skills using the colourful parachute. This isn’t a traditional class. It lasts for an hour and a half and so the activities are interspaced with time to explore the toys, fabrics and fun that’s all around the room. There’s a real community feel to the session and Nattylyn is keen for parents to have time to get to know one another. That gives the children chance to interact before having one to one time at the end of the session. That part of the session draws on the Alexander Technique, which focuses on a child’s natural posture and movement. “It’s a basic massage, but it sends them away realigned, relaxed and with a stronger bond between parent and child. I want parents to get in tune with their little ones. It’s time out with your child. That’s time you don’t get in daily life so it’s great they have it here.” For more information contact Nattylyn on 07548 705 563.

As seen on TV

Tennis Tots is the UK’s leading tennis play and coaching programme for boys and girls aged 2-6 years of age

To book a free trial call Tel : 07753 800723

FAMILIES LEEDS | January/February 11


WIN… a family ticket to the Ice Cube Get your skates on and head to Millennium Square this winter for a cool day out. The Ice Cube opens in Leeds on Friday 25th January until Sunday 24th February and you and your family are invited along for a skate. Join in the fun on the main rink or head to the nursery area if you’re under 8 years old. Wherever you are, there are Ice Marshalls on hand to help with cool tips to keep you safe on the ice. We’ve got 4 family tickets to give away. To be in with a chance of winning one, simply send your name and address to with the words ICE CUBE in the subject line. A family ticket is for 2 adults and 2 children, or 1 adult and 3 children. Good Luck and if you want to take a look at opening times and skating sessions go to

WIN… a month’s membership at Cookridge Hall for a family If getting fit is one of your resolutions this New Year, this is the competition for you. We’ve teamed up with Cookridge Hall Health and Fitness to offer one lucky family membership of this super club for a whole month. You’ll be able join a Family Zumba class or sign your little ones up to a Cheerleading, Street Dance or Boxercise session. For Mums there’s Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, Aqua Zumba, Thai Boxing and Indoor Cycling. And everyone can enjoy the Cookridge Hall pool. To be in with a chance of winning this fabulous fitness prize, email your name and address to with the words COOKRIDGE HALL in the subject line. For more about classes at the club, go to

WIN… a Spanish for Fidgets CD Little Fidgets is wishing you ‘Feliz año Nuevo’ or a Happy New Year with this super prize. To celebrate the release of their new Spanish CD called ‘On the Move with Spanish for Fidgets’ we’ve got 5 to give away. The CD is packed with over 20 action songs and rhymes to help children learn new Spanish words and phrases in a fun and memorable way. “With over 400 million speakers worldwide, Spanish is a really useful language to learn,” says Lucy Amos from Little Fidgets. To be in with a chance of winning, send your name and address to with the words SPANISH CD in the subject line. Buena suerte!


F+RST AID CHALLENGE‌ IIWould you know what to do if your child was choking? How would you deal with aII IIbee sting? A recent survey by the British Red Cross revealed that 96% of parents wantII IIbasic first aid knowledge but only a third of parents feel confident when treating theirII IIchildren. We’ve called on first aid expert Helen Underwood to give us all some vital advice.II ||MY CHILD IS HAVING A NOSEBLEED||


Do you remember being asked to tip your head back when you had a nosebleed at school? Forget that. To stop a nose bleed sit the child down with their head leaning FORWARD and pinch the area immediately below the bridge of the nose. You’ll need to do this for 10 minutes as it takes that long for the blood to clot. Release slowly and if it’s still bleeding re-pinch and set the clock for another 10 minutes. If it’s still bleeding after 20 minutes, you’ll need to seek medical attention. Don’t be too concerned with even frequent nosebleeds. They’re quite normal in children.

Try to make the child cough. If they’re making no noise it means the airway is completely blocked. In this situation, there’s no time to call an ambulance. YOU need to unblock it. Look in the child’s mouth. If you can easily get hold of whatever is blocking your child’s airway, remove it. If you can’t, don’t try as you may push it in further. For children under a year old, hold the child upside down over your knee and give a firm back blow between the shoulder blades. You can repeat this up to five times. Make sure you moderate the strength of the blow depending on the age of the child. If this doesn’t work, try chest thrusts. If your child is older than a year and the back blows don’t work, you can progress to abdominal thrusts. These techniques are best learnt on a first aid course and must ALWAYS be followed by a trip to A & E to check for any internal bleeding.

||MY CHILD HAS A HIGH TEMPERATURE|| If your child’s temperature is above 39°C, you need to make attempts to reduce it. Keep them hydrated and try to control their fever with Calpol. Don’t overcool your child by giving them a cold bath or a cold sponge down. This can cause the blood vessels on the surface of the skin to constrict and keep the heat in. If you can’t get or keep your child’s temperature below 39°C then you’ll need to seek medical attention.




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||MY CHILD HAS BEEN BURNT|| Did you know that the skin is made up of 3 layers? To reach all the layers, burns need to be cooled for 10 minutes or lower layers will carry on cooking. Most parents don’t cool for long enough because children tend to resist prolonged exposure to the cold water tap, but there are ways around it. Fill a bowl with COOL not freezing water. Put the burn in that bowl and set the timer for 10 minutes. Don’t guess. Never use creams and lotions as these often contain oil which simply cooks the skin. Never pop blisters. If in any doubt, seek medical attention.

||DOES MY CHILD HAVE MENINGITIS/|| ||MENINGOCOCCAL SEPTICAEMIA?|| This is every parents’ nightmare. There are a number of possible symptoms including a high core temperature (39/40°C) contrasted with cold hands and feet. Other symptoms include vomiting, headaches, irritability, a dislike of bright lights and possibly a rash. For a full list of symptoms and instructions on how to carry out the rash glass test, take a look at Download the trust’s app to your phone so you have those symptoms to hand at the touch of a button.

||MY CHILD IS DEHYDRATED|| Your child may become dehydrated if the weather is hot, they’re doing lots of exercise or if they are unwell. For babies, look out for a completely dry nappy and in older children, keep an eye on how often they visit the toilet. If your child is suffering from dehydration give them clear fluids with salt and sugar in. Flat lemonade works a treat especially when teamed with salty crisps for older children. Sickness bugs can often lead to dehydration. If you’re struggling to get your child to keep fluids down, try offering them on a teaspoon or encourage small sips. If nothing is staying down, seek advice from your GP.

FAMILIES LEEDS | January/February 13

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||MY CHILD IS HAVING A CONVULSION|| A febrile convulsion is a seizure or fit as a result of a high temperature. They happen when a young child’s body is unable to cope with a sudden rise in its temperature. Firstly don’t panic. These sort of seizures are common and your priority is to make your child safe. Protect their head from any hard objects and make sure there’s nothing in their mouth. Loosen off any clothing to try to reduce their temperature. If it’s your child’s first seizure, call 999. There’s a medical reason for it and you need to know what that is.

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||MY CHILD HAS BEEN STUNG BY A BEE|| Removing a bee sting is tricky. Many people reach for the tweezers but DON’T. Taking out a bee sting with tweezers will simply squeeze the venom from the poison sack into the child’s body. Instead reach for your credit card but don’t panic. This swipe won’t cost you a penny! Use the card to push the sting out the way it came in and then cover with a cold flannel. It’s rare to have an allergic reaction, but if your child does react badly call 999.

||MY CHILD IS UNCONSCIOUS|| You’ve tried to rouse your child and you can’t. First, you need to shout for help and then open their airway to check for breathing. Do this by placing one hand on their forehead and a couple of fingers on their jaw bone. Then gently tilt the head so the chin is off their chest. Check there is nothing in their mouth and then pull the jawbone to lift the jaw. This lifts the tongue off the back of the throat. Listen for breathing for 10 seconds by putting your ear close to their mouth and looking for a rise/fall of their chest/tummy. If they’re not breathing you need to start CPR immediately. The best way to learn CPR is on a course run by a first aid professional. If your child is breathing, place them on their side in the recovery position. This keeps their tongue off the back of their throat and means they can be sick safely if they need to be.

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||ALLERGIC REACTION|| Chances are you won’t know your child is allergic to something until they have a reaction to it. Common allergies include nuts, seafood, kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, latex and penicillin. Look out for swelling of the lips and tongue, closing of the throat, wheezy breathing and a loss of colour. If you think your child is having a severe allergic reaction, call 999. It’s rare for children to have a life-threatening reaction in the first instance. Thankfully there’s usually a mild reaction to warn parents first. For the signs to watch for and advice on allergies take a look at

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||DO YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE?|| Would you like to know how to carry out effective CPR or abdominal thrusts on a child? How about hands on training in how to treat a burn? Sign up to a first aid course for parents with Underwood Training. Helen Underwood can run a private course in YOUR home. For more information call 0845 650 56 60 REMEMBER: Children’s A & E is based at Leeds General Infirmary just off Calverley Street. There is no longer any children’s A & E at St James’ Hospital.

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FAMILIES LEEDS | January/February

Make Your New Year’s Resolution

TO MAKE A WILL… IIHave you made a Will? Two out of every three parents with children under fiveII IIhaven’t. A Will can help provide for your children after you’ve gone and ensureII IIthey are cared for in line with your wishes. We’ve asked expert Liz Stephen fromII IIEmsleys Solicitors to explain why getting your wishes in writing is so important.II


RITING A WILL has a number of implications and perhaps the most important one is that it grants you the ability to stipulate how your assets should be distributed and allows you to ensure that your dependents are provided for. If you die without a Will the state will decide who gets what and how much, causing more distress to your loved ones. When a Will has not been made, families may ask the court to intervene. This can be very stressful and costly for all involved and in turn can damage relationships between your children and/or family. Making a Will can prevent this from happening and removes any uncertainty for those left behind. For parents with children under legal age (18), making a Will and appointing a legal guardian is vitally important. If a Will has not been made or if a guardian has not been appointed at the time of your death, then the court will select one. Although the court takes into account the child’s best interests there is no guarantee who they will appoint. Choosing the right guardian for your children can be very difficult and you are the best person for that job. Appointing a guardian is the best way of ensuring that your children are looked after by the person you choose. It is important to

check with your proposed guardian before making your Will so that you can be certain that they are willing to act as a guardian. In today’s modern family the presence of children from a previous marriage or relationship is a common occurrence. At the moment stepchildren are not automatically able to inherit, unless they have been legally adopted by you. If you would like them to inherit it is essential that you document it in your Will. Making a Will does not have to be time consuming; it can be in place within 7 days and does not have to be perfect the first time. Once you have a Will it is important that you regularly review it. Life events such as divorce and marriage can lead to parts of the Will becoming invalid. A good solicitor will be able to make the amendments and help you to avoid any penalties that may occur. After you have made a Will, you know that you have done your best to ensure that when you die your children are well looked after by the people that you trust. Most of all you will have peace of mind. Liz Stephen is a Partner in Wills and Probate at Emsleys Solicitors.

looking for expert legal advice? we can help. There comes a time when everyone needs advice from an expert. It might be when you are buying or selling a property or perhaps you need a will to plan for the future and protect your assets.

“Very professional, capable and effective service. I would definitely use again and recommend to others.”

Whatever your situation, whether you need help following the breakdown of a relationship, have an employment-related legal matter, are in dispute with somone, or seeking compensation for an injury of some kind, we are here to help.

Speak to our legal experts on 0113 232 1030 or visit

Family Law - Wills & Probate - Conveyancing - Dispute Resolution - Employment Law - Personal Injury - Commercial Property

Party News beautiful handmade cake pops

Join The Treasures Birthday Club

baked to order fun themed party pops

the new way to eat cake

07759 029138

We all want to save money when buying birthday gifts, and Wetherby toy shop Treasures can help in 2013. They’ve launched a Birthday Club which, if you register, will save you 12.5% off your in store purchases. “It’s easy to join,” explains Zhara Armstrong from Treasures. “Go to our revamped website and enter your child’s name and birthday. We’ll make sure every child gets a birthday card and you’ll get a discount voucher.” You can also manage any Wish List you make in Treasures through the improved website. It means a list of your child’s wished for birthday gifts can be accessed online by party guests, family and you! What a great idea!

Great Gifts from Say It Personally Looking for gift buying inspiration? Check out Yorkshire gift company Say It Personally. Their Happy School Days sets are a great idea for younger ones: a cute child-sized backpack filled with co-ordinating goodies in both Woodland Animals and Space Rider designs. Older kids love the Wheelie Bin Desk Sets, containing stationery disguised as all manner of things from a smart-phone eraser to a toothpaste pen! • 01482 638 355

Attention! Army Parties at Stockeld Park Join the military, just for an afternoon, with an Army party organised by the fantastic Make a Wish Entertainment. They’ve teamed up with Stockeld Park to use the fields and woodland for den building, military manoeuvres and even an end of party water bomb battle. “It’s the perfect venue for these parties,” says Suzanne Kaye Vaughan from Make a Wish. “We are completely in character as Drill Sergeants. There’s no bad behaviour at an Army party!”

Give them a party they won’t forget! Completely safe for 4–9 year olds. Bring your party to one of our indoor venues.

Contact Geoff on 01422 351 981

Families Leeds GUIDE TO

The Perfect Party Bags ||Love them or hate them, no celebration is complete without a party bag.|It’s a|| ||brave parent who decides to opt out and send children home with nothing more|| ||than a high five. Avoid those home time tears with these tips from our local Party|| ||Bag experts – Zhara Armstrong from Treasures and Lisa Clay from Armadillo Toys.||

Top Tips ❂

❂ ❂

Star Party Bag Filler for 2013

Think quality not quantity. Stuffing bags with plastic is a waste of money. Invest in one good quality gift, a bar of chocolate or a bag of sweets and a piece of cake. That’s the perfect party bag! Buy packs of toys, crayons and stickers you can split. These can be divided up between party bags, bringing the cost down. Party bags are a great way to tell your guests that the celebrations have come to an end. Have the party child ready at the door with the bags to give out as your guests leave. It’s a chance for them to say thank you for coming and brings everything to a conclusion swiftly.

CHARACTER BLIND BAGS £2.00 Available from Armadillo Toys and Treasures. It’s a perfect pint size present for every guest. Choose from Hello Kitty, Moshi Monsters, Tinkerbell, Lego Minifigures and Playmobil bags. Each contains a figure. Whether you have girls or boys coming along to your celebrations, they’ll be delighted to find one in their party bag. If you buy your bags at Treasures you’ll get a FREE bag for every 5 you purchase.

£1 & Under

Up to £2

Over £2

Animal Spinners 49p Available at Treasures

Trash Packs £2.00 Available at Armadillo Toys

Toy Story/Rapunzel Figures £3.99 – NEW IN Available at Treasures

Bubbles 35p Available at Armadillo Toys

Scratch Art Kits £1.99 Available at Treasures Alex Craft Set £2.99 Available at Treasures

Top Model Pencil & Rubber 95p Available at Treasures

Top Model Lipstick Rubber £1.35 Available at Treasures Top Model Set £3.50 Available at Treasures

Duck 99p Available at Armadillo Toys

Teaching Watches £1.25 Available at Armadillo Toys

Stockists… ARMADILLO TOYS: 112 Harrogate Rd, Chapel Allerton LS7 4NY • 0113 266 7500 20 Town St, Horsforth LS18 4RJ • 0113 258 8777 • TREASURES OF WETHERBY: High Street, Wetherby LS22 6LT • 01937 589 187

FAMILIES LEEDS | January/February 17

Henrietta Rabbit’s Alternative to

Party Bags Award winning Art & Craft sessions for 12 months – 11 years old

||If you can’t face going down the party bag route,|| ||party expert Henrietta Rabbit gives her tried and|| ||tested alternatives.||

You create, we clear up!

s also available

Sessions in Yeadon & Horsforth • Partie

CHILDREN’S MAGAZINES Your newsagent will weep with joy at your order. You can make sure they are gender appropriate and usually with some tacky toy gift glued to the front. I’ve seen children genuinely chuffed to bits at receiving their magazine at the end of the do.

0844 854 9130

CAKE PACK MIXES Lots of supermarkets stock themed mixes so there’s something for every budding baker. GROW A SUNFLOWER Give a pot with a seed in, or a cutting. The children carry these home with studied concentration. If you don’t feel like doing this yourself, your local garden centre will be delighted to help.


TRY A LUCKY DIP Wrap the gifts purchased from your wonderful local toy shop and hide them in a huge box of shredded paper. Let them find their own present to take home. If you want to provide different gifts for boys and girls, make sure you colour code the bags.

BOOK NOW FOR 2013! Places Limited

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SEASONAL OFFERS If you’re having a party in the Spring, hand out Easter eggs instead of party bags. If you’re celebrating in November, think about treating your guests to an Advent Calendar. That’s a gift they’ll be enjoying long after the party has finished! To get more advice from Henrietta Rabbit, take a look at

IIndependent ndependent Specialist Specialist Toy Toy Shop Shop Wooden Toys, Puppets, Baby Baby Toys, Toys, Wooden Toys, Puppets, Games & Jigsaws, Jigsaws, Craft Craft & SScience cience Kits, Kits, Games Lego, Playmobil, Playmobil, Sylvanian Sylvanian Families Families Lego, Animals, Knig hts & D inosaur Figures, Figures, Animals, Knights Dinosaur Castles, Doll’s Doll’s Houses, Houses, Farms Farms and Castles, more... much more... 112a Harrogate REt$Iapel AllertPOt-4/:t ToXO4Ut)PSTGPrUIt-43+t

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Unit B, Seacroft Trade Park, Coal Road, Leeds, LS14 2AQ. Tel 0113 2329822

Families Leeds TOP TEN PARTY

Kids can Kids Cookk Coo Ages Ag gees 2 - 11 Hands-on recipes rec and gastronomic gastronom experiments. Pre-school classes . Cookery workshops . Parties

Call Katherine on 07737 966786


My best party tip would be to buy food boxes and put your guests’ lunch in them. It may cost more than a paper plate but you save on the food and it’s so much easier when trying to serve up to hungry party-goers! Nicola Lawlor, Mum from Guiseley


It’s a great idea to hire a hall. Parties at home usually take a turn for the worse when your guests decide to explore the upstairs. When they do, there’s very little you can do to coax them down. Take the mess somewhere else and you’ll find you’ll get more help at tidy up time. Henrietta Rabbit, Party Entertainer


Instead of buying loads of cakes and buns bring out a tray of ice lollies or ice creams. They are pre-wrapped so what you don’t use goes back in the freezer. It also reduces the washing up! Cath Hale, Mum from Wetherby Diddi Dance, Yorkshire

Planning Tips ||Looking to plan the perfect children’s party? Look no|| ||further. We’ve gathered some top tips from Families|| ||Leeds’ friends to give you some inspiration. From money|| ||saving tips to top party themes, we’ve got some great|| ||ideas to help you plan your next birthday bash.||


I’ve just organised a really successful joint party with another girl in my daughter’s class. Obviously you need to get on with the other parent but it enables you to have a really great bash and do something you might not otherwise have been able to afford. We had a dance party, hired the dancer to do the party and we just provided the food. Really stress free. Belinda Maunsell, Mum from Selby Editor Families Vale of York


You can’t beat Pass the Parcel but keep any musical snippets short and sweet. If not you lose children’s interest – especially if you’ve got a large group. With children under five you can also play variations on Musical Statues where no one is out. It keeps their interest and they can all join in. Don’t worry about the food. Children don't eat much at a party as they are over excited. Simple is best. Rachel Swann Mum from North Leeds


We hosted a party where the mum had purchased some cheap plain white t-shirts and fabric pens. The children arrived and decorated their own t-shirt before putting them on to learn the Street Dance routine. All the children loved designing their own Street Dance Crew Tee! Everyone got involved and when it came to the performance they couldn’t wait to bust some moves! Steph, FlexDance Inc Town theme with Shop, Cafe & Petrol Station Freshly prepared food daily • Separate baby area Private Parties catered for (centre closed for parties) Unit 2 • South View Business Park Guiseley • Leeds • LS20 9PP (straight on past Argos, we're 3rd on left)

01943 870 189


The best party I’ve done for my daughters was a beach party in our back garden, We put up a marquee and filled it with sand and inflatables, set up deck chairs and beach umbrellas and put big pictures of the seaside on the walls. The rest is a blur! Rachel Law, Mum from Scarcroft


Get the children to make their own party tea. I give each child a wrap and cover the table with tempting fillings to make silly food faces. I’ve never seen all the healthy food disappear at a party so quickly. My top tip is grated carrot makes good hair! It’s why Kiddy Cook parties are so popular! Katherine Reynolds Mum from Horsforth Kiddy Cook Leeds


Don’t make the party too long. It’s much better to have a shorter party that everyone leaves with a smile on their face than stretching things out and having your guests leave in tears. An hour and a half is perfect. Elizabeth Hawkhead Mum from Scholes Rhythm Time Leeds


Enjoy it. So often your child’s party passes in a blur of sandwich making and balloon inflating. Take time to head into the party room and watch your child with their friends. That’s the memory that will make you do it all again next year! Sarah Butters Mum from Bardsey Editor Families Leeds

FAMILIES LEEDS | January/February 19

HOME MADE PARTY – STAR TIP From Rachel Frazer, YogaBugs Yorkshire I’ve been doing my own parties for my daughter Meryl for the last few years. My ingredients for a successful home-made party include: ❂ A spacious venue with kitchen. Avoid your home if you like it! ❂ Invite about 12 party guests of similar age. ❂ Set up a simple craft activity to start the party so late comers don’t miss the games. ❂ Plan AT LEAST 10 party games. Make sure some are running around ones and others are seated activities like Pass The Parcel, Pass The Squeeze (a YogaBugs favourite) and Smartie Straw Sucking. ❂ Limit the party to an hour and a half – that’s long enough! ❂ Make your own piñata. It ends the party perfectly with sweet goodies and little presents falling from the sky! ❂ Get yourself a copy of ‘Organised Fun for Kids’ by Josie Curran.

Free Jug of Juice just hand in this voucher! Play party cafe family fun activities

Soft Play & Party Venue

75a New Road Side, Horsforth, LS18 4QD

call 0113 393 3340


WIN… a Flex Dance Party Pick your favourite pop song and let the Flex Dance girls create a party around it! We’ve teamed up with Sam and Steph to offer you a party you’ll never forget. You chose your favourite tune and let the girls create a routine and teach it to your guests. You’ll end the party with an invite only performance of your top pop tune. Whether you’re a Little Mix fan or a One Direction devotee, they can put on a party to remember. To be in with a chance of winning this prize send your child’s name, address and date of birth to with the words FLEX DANCE in the subject line. For more on Flex Dance parties and their musical theatre classes look at

Childrens Childr ens Entertainment Ent ert ainment Workshops & W oorkshops


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WIN… a Schleich Nursery & Animals The perfect birthday gift for a future vet! This fabulous Schleich Animal Nursery is a great home for all your Schleich figures. Together with Armadillo Toys in Chapel Allerton and Horsforth we’re giving away this super prize worth £100. All you have to do is send your child’s name, age and address to with the words ARMADILLO in the subject line. For the full range of Schleich products look at

Fitness, Fun & Friends!




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Maths and English Study Programmes

We kick off our new feature shining the spotlight on Ken Davison, Principal of Stagecoach in Morley and Horsforth.



Who comes along to Stagecoach? We get a really wide range of youngsters. We have parents who consider their children to be really talented at singing and dancing. We get parents who want to see their children grow in confidence. We also get parents who have been referred by teachers, parents of shy children. We welcome them all.

What age can you start? We run Early Stages for children from 4 – 6 years old. This is an hour and half session with one teacher covering the three disciplines of singing, dancing and drama. It’s informal, fun and there are lots of games. These children don’t even know they’re doing drama, but they are. From there children move to the Main School. This is 3 hours long with an hour dedicated to each of the three disciplines. We have about 15 children in a group and it’s my job as Principal to oversee the whole school. It is a disciplined environment and while we aim for fun, these are lessons. We want the children to leave with skills.

What are you up to this term? Spring is our skills term so we are looking work on acapella singing with the Main School children and we’re going to hold a Strictly Come Dancing fortnight!

What else do you think children get from coming to Stagecoach? Friendships, and usually with people outside of their normal environment. If they’re having a hard week at school, Stagecoach can be a real escape.

Isn’t it quite expensive? Not compared to musical tuition. It works out at about £8 an hour. When you consider we don’t charge for tickets to shows, we don’t charge for costumes, we don’t charge parents for their child’s exam entrance fees, I think we are a good proposition. I think the fact that we’ve held our numbers throughout this recession shows that our parents can see they’re getting good value.

I didn’t know you could take exams at Stagecoach. Tell me more… In my view, the best way for a child to have a successful career in the performing arts is to train through exams. The main benefit of an exam is parents can see an external individual coming into our sessions and assessing our work. It reassures them of the quality of the teaching we provide. I know how good it is but when an independent marker awards our children merits and distinctions, so do the parents.

Why do you think Stagecoach continues to be popular? It’s been around for 25 years so it clearly works. We put in talented teachers and we make sure the children make progress. It’s old fashioned. It’s straight-forward. But it works! Ken runs Stagecoach session in Horsforth on Saturday and in Morley on Sunday. Stagecoach classes also run in Wetherby (Saturday) and Alwoodley (Saturday). Places are limited for 2013 but get in touch to find out more.

FAMILIES LEEDS | January/February 21

Do we need more Male Teachers in our

Primary Schools?



IIWhile the number of men training as teachers has increased moreII IIthan 50% in the past four years, there are still primary schoolsII IIwithout a single male teacher. We visit The Grammar School atII IILeeds’ Pre Prep, Rose Court, and talk to the school’s first maleII IIteacher about what made him choose a career in the classroom.II


TEVE McKINLEY is busy preparing for this week’s Science Club. Last term he had the Year 2 children measuring the strength of magnets, mixing liquids to see if they separated and getting to grips with a microscope. Science is one of Steve’s passions and he’s delighted to have the opportunity to pass that on to the children here at Rose Court. Despite having been at the school for 18 months, Mr McKinley continues to be something of a novelty. Children he’s never taught stop him in the corridor and those who pass his classroom en route to assembly or lunch can’t resist offering him a wave. “All the children know me purely because I’m THE male teacher,” he explains. Recent figures revealed that although the number of men training to be primary school teachers is up, a quarter of our schools are still without a single male teacher. In fact 18% of all primary aged boys are in a school with an all female staff. That’s not good news for pupils who benefit from a balanced staff room, according to a leading Leeds Head Teacher who has number of male teachers on staff. “For a child moving through a school, having different types of teachers to stimulate differing parts of the child’s development is the key,” explains Robert Lilley, The Grammar School at Leeds’ Junior School Head. “It’s easy to see how male teachers can be role models for boys. Having an enthusiastic man at the front of the class makes learning cool for boys.” And enthusiasm is something Steve McKinley has in buckets. Whether he’s planning after school soccer skills, or joining in with the construction work at Golden Time, it’s clear he loves his job. His approach is different to his female colleagues, but that contrast of styles can only be good news for the pupils in his care. “I do like to wrap up and head outside into the field and get dirty. That’s where children learn best. Or if we study a traditional tale, I’d gravitate towards George and the Dragon as opposed to a Fairy Tale. In our free play sessions there’s lots of Lego and Castles. The girls love it just as much as the boys and it opens their eyes to a different way to play.” There’s been much research into the benefits of a balanced staff room. There’s evidence to show that boys work harder for male teachers and that both sexes would find it easier to approach a man if they were being bullied. But many men considering a career in the classroom dismiss teaching in Foundation and Key Stage 1 as nothing more than childcare. It’s an attitude that Mr McKinley rejects. “I don’t at all see it as childcare. A child develops SO much between the age of 5 and 6 and we are here to guide them. The best moment for

me is when you get to the end of the year and flick through the children’s books. You see how far they’ve come and see the massive amount they’ve achieved.” This is a primary environment that’s clearly benefiting from a male teacher. However Rose Court Head Anne Pickering says she wasn’t looking to recruit a man. She was simply looking for the best teacher to join her staff. “Mr McKinley’s teaching is excellent. He cares about the children in his class and consistently does his best to meet their needs. He’s also an excellent role model to all of our little boys here at Rose Court. He has more than justified my faith in him.” It’s clear that a good teacher is a good teacher, regardless of their gender. However there’s still a long way to go before the nation’s staff rooms are truly balanced. Mr McKinley hopes his presence here at Rose Court will persuade other good male teachers to join him in the future. “Teaching children of this age is hugely rewarding. You see so much progress and you become so central to their lives. They really look up to you and you become a role model for them. That’s a real privilege.” Rose Court is Pre Prep to The Grammar School at Leeds. The school is based on Buckingham Road, Headingley and welcomes girls and boys from 3 – 7 years old.

Book for 2013 NOW! Wetherby, Selby & Kippax on 0113 210 3505 Horsforth & Morley on 01757 248 884 Roundhay on 0845 678 7778


Common Myths & How to Recognise it IIIt’s estimated that as many as 1 in 10 people are affected by dyslexia with many struggling throughII IItheir formative years undiagnosed. Author and campaigner Corinna Shepherd explains what dyslexia isII IIand when parents should seek help.II


Y INTEREST IN DYSLEXIA and my passion to help those who struggle with it started around seven years ago. At that time my son was struggling with literacy and was reluctant to learn. At the same time I was on a workplace course, learning about dyslexia and other learning difficulties. Because of what I learnt, I suspected he might be dyslexic, so I had him assessed privately by an educational psychologist. She confirmed that he was indeed mildly dyslexic. In response the school did not offer much support and advice, as they felt he was performing adequately. But I knew he was not reaching his potential and he was not happy in that learning environment. Had I not known the signs to look out for, his dyslexia might not have been picked up and he would have been labelled an average child, who was reluctant to learn at school, along with countless others. My personal experience and interest in dyslexia led me to establish The Chilterns IDL (Dyslexia) Centre in January 2007. Since then I have completed over 2,000 hours of one-to-one assessments and tuition with children and adults, who struggle with words. Out of my work with these children, I came to realise there was little on the market to engage and inspire dyslexic children specifically with the world of words and imagination. I decided it was up to me to do something about it, so I developed the Dancing Kites Creative Learning brand with a range of interactive, illustrated books for the age range 4 to 15.

IISo what exactly is dyslexia?II Dyslexia is often misunderstood, hard to diagnose and those affected by it often do not receive adequate support. So what is it and how does it affect children? The word dyslexia comes from the Greek, literally meaning “difficulty with words”. The condition can affect spelling and reading and many people believe that is all it is. But it can also affect individuals in other areas, such as: n confusing dates and times. n confusing left and right. n difficulties getting ideas down on paper. n sequencing numbers and information. n following verbal instructions.

Also working memory is usually poor. This shows itself when new information needs to be processed effectively and quickly. While dyslexia can be viewed as a learning difficulty, it can also be seen as a gift. Some talents shared by dyslexics include the ability to think in pictures, being creative and intuitive, being good with their hands. They are often highly aware of their environment and have vivid imaginations. Children with dyslexia often have above average intelligence, yet they struggle with words and processing new information. I have regular conversations with parents about their child, who is struggling at school, yet the school says he or she is doing fine. The child is often frustrated and has poor self-esteem. He or she might be seeking attention or not concentrating as a way of coping. By the time the parent phones me, their child is often falling further and further behind, in literacy especially, and they do not know where to turn to for help and advice. Having an assessment is a positive step towards getting the support your child needs. Rather than seeing this as a label, view it as a step towards unlocking your child’s potential.

IIWho is affected?II Dyslexia is generally thought to affect between 8% and 15% of the population, 4% severely. So, in a class of 30 children, 3 are likely to have dyslexic tendencies, maybe mild or possibly severe. So everyone is likely to know at least one child or adult who is dyslexic. Children with dyslexic tendencies are likely to be resistant to traditional teaching methods and benefit from a one-to-one, multi-sensory, creative learning environment. Dyslexia often runs in families, with a close relative struggling with it too. Most are born with it and do not grow out of it, though learn to cope with it. It is not directly linked to intelligence. Children and adults with other learning difficulties or sensory disabilities may have dyslexic difficulties also.

FAMILIES LEEDS | January/February 23

IIHow to recognise dyslexiaII

IICan you grow out of dyslexia?II

There is much you can pick up about your child as a parent or carer, just by sitting down with your child and a good book, appropriate to their developmental stage and interest level. Areas of difficulty to look out for include: n Does your child struggle with reading or spelling? n Does he or she avoid picking up a book? n Does the child guess at a word, looking at the whole word or just the initial letter? n Does he/she forget how to read or spell a word as soon as he/she has turned the page? n Can he/she find it hard to sound out individual letters in simple 3 letter words e.g. cat, bat? n Does the child find it hard to rhyme simple words? n Does he/she skip little words, such as and, the? n Does he/she miss out words when reading?

As children grow up, they learn to compensate for their difficulties, the more successful ones using their strengths to overcome their condition. Support during the formative years is vital to help overcome difficulties and unlock their potential in literacy and in other areas.

IIWhat should I do now?II If you think that your child might be dyslexic, speak to an educational specialist, such as your child’s teacher. I can also be contacted for a confidential chat on 07721 368 978 or visit my website For local support contact Dyslexia Action in their new office on Woodhouse Lane in Leeds. They can offer a wide range of help to both children and adults. Call 0113 242 9626 •

The presence of any, most or all of them does not necessarily mean your child is dyslexic, but I would recommend further investigation if you have any concerns.

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FAMILIES LEEDS | January/February



How to get YOUR child settled in? Starting at a nursery or child-minder can be a traumatic time for any parent or child. It’s often the first time they have ever been apart for long periods. However, with the right preparation and support it can be a positive experience. We talk to John Warren from Kids Unlimited Nurseries to get his advice.

So what makes a good settling in process at a nursery or child-minder? Is it one that lasts thirty seconds and your child is ripped from you like a plaster from a wound? Is it one that lasts ten weeks? The answer is that there is no definitive answer. What is important is that you and your child are offered a bespoke settling in process that suits your needs.

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So how can this be achieved? 1. GOOD PREPARATION Provide the childcare setting with as much information as possible on what makes your child settled and happy. • Key times. • Likes and dislikes. • Comforter. • Food or dietary needs. 2. GOOD COMMUNICATION “Parents are the most important people in their children’s lives; it is from parents that children learn the most, particularly in the early months and years. The closer links are between parents and nursery the more effective that learning becomes.” This quote sums up how important the role of the parental communication is at the settle and all points throughout the child’s education. If the people who are caring for your child know as much about them as you do, the transition to childcare life will be a smooth one and will set a good foundation for life. • Ask questions. There is no such thing as a silly question. • If something is not working well during the settle session speak to your carer. It is essential for the child carer to get the settle session right for you and your child. This will avoid unnecessary changes and support consistency. • Communication between you and your child carer is important. Knowing that they are honest will be reassuring and help to relieve any anxiety that you may have.

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There may be some tears (from both of you!) but this is not unusual. The person who is caring for your child will inform you of how your child has been when you return.

“For parents, particularly mothers, the Key Person Approach ensures that parents have the opportunity to build a relationship with ‘someone’ rather than ‘all of them’ working in the nursery.”

So what will a good child carer offer you? They will offer you: • Time • Reassurance • Support • Communication

What will your Settle session look like? As a rule of thumb a settle will be carried out over three visits, but this is not set in stone. Each setting will tailor the settling in period to suit you and your child. •

VISIT 1 The parent stays with the child and meets the key worker and staff in the room. This is the time to get to know each other. VISIT 2 The child visits their home base room for 1 hour on their own. VISIT 3 The child visits their home base room for 2 hours on their own, perhaps including a mealtime.

Staff and your key person will then review the settling in with you to decide the next steps for your child. For the majority of families and children, it is full steam ahead after these three visits. Good Luck! Kids Unlimited’s Leeds nursery is on Kirkstall Road • 0845 365 2908

FAMILIES LEEDS | January/February 25

“You have to choose the older children because their need is more emotional.”

Preparing your child for

A NEW BABY They’ve been centre stage for as long as they can remember, and had to share mummy and daddy with no-one. So when a child gets a baby brother or sister, what’s the best way to deal with the new arrival? Claire Bottomley asked Sally Kennedy, Health Visitor with Leeds Community Healthcare, for some advice.

Caroline Miller from Moortown is mum to Evie, four, and one-year-old Harry. She recalls how she and husband Andy helped prepare Evie and guide her through becoming a big sister. “She was excited, definitely, but also not that interested!” Caroline remembers Evie’s feelings when she was pregnant. “Life goes on for them, they still have their needs and because they are still so young they are very egocentric.” Caroline and Andy decided to find out the sex of the baby, to help Evie prepare, and involved her in choosing the name. “She helped me choose some of his first clothes and bought a toy to take to the hospital for him, so she felt very involved,” remembers Caroline. “We tried to include her as much as possible. I got a couple of books from the library, one called There’s a House Inside My Mummy, though I don’t know how much she took in.” Caroline remembers Evie coming to hospital and being very excited. “I made sure Harry was in the cot, not in my arms,” she said. “We went home the next day and she was at nursery and Harry was there when she got home. We gave her a present from Harry and she opened that.” As Sally advises, Caroline made sure she spent time alone with Evie. “I took her to the supermarket shopping, just the two of us, not long after Harry was born, and to a cafe, I made sure I could put her to bed sometimes.” Caroline says there were times when Evie would make her choose, for example demanding to be belted into the car seat first. “She made me choose over things that seemed really silly and it’s hard, sometimes I have got cross. But invariably you have to choose the older child because their need is more emotional. If the younger child has a clean nappy, has been fed and you know they’re alright then they have to cry, but it is very difficult.”

“We’re all human!” – it’s an obvious statement but as experienced health visitor Sally points out, it’s important to remember, especially when we’re talking about young children dealing with a big life change. “Don’t expect too much, don’t expect them to grow up overnight,” she warns. “If they feel they’ve gone from being the apple of someone’s eye to the person who fetches nappies they might find it difficult. They’ll need lots of love and cuddles, let them know how special they are.” She added,“You are likely to get aggressive or babyish type behaviour. A younger child might want to be picked up and carried, and an older child might wet the bed, they may talk in a baby voice. It’s all perfectly normal but if it persists talk to your health visitor about it.” So what can you do to minimise the issue? “Involve the child in the preparation for the arrival of the baby and make sure they are included in things,” says Sally. “Make sure there is one-to-one time with the child without the baby, with mum or dad. There needs to be lots and lots of understanding and cuddles and try to focus on times when they have been good.” She also advises including the child in feeding, whether it is breast or bottle. “It can be a good time to snuggle on the sofa and read a book together.” She adds,“Encourage visitors to the home to give a lot of attention to the sibling – people can march in and want to see the baby, but it would be more helpful if they gave time to the older child.” Some people buy a present for the child from the baby, and Sally says that can be a good idea, as can getting the child a doll to look after and play with. “Finally, try to keep to routines as much as possible,” says Sally. “Carry on going to playgroup, reading the bedtime story, so that the routine of the older child stays as stable as possible.”

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FAMILIES LEEDS | January/February

THE BOO DIARIELeeSds this New Year to share||

Families ||Adel Mum Bev Moore returns to looks|| h an autistic child. In this issue, she wit ng livi ces en eri exp r he of re ||some mo e every day.|| ||at the challenges her family fac


T is impossible to think about our daughter Boo without smiling. Living with a child who has Autism Spectrum Disorder feels special, and life is never dull. But occasionally, a little bit of dull would be very welcome. There are definitely difficult times, and to gloss over these would be doing a disservice to other parents out there with children on the Autism Spectrum, who are dealing with untold stress on a daily basis, and just knuckling down and getting on with it. The Autism Spectrum covers a very wide range of behaviours and difficulties, and people with the condition can be affected by any number of these to a greater or lesser degree. By comparison, Boo’s autism could be considered relatively mild, yet can still wreak havoc on everyday life, for her and for us. I think the hardest things we’ve had to cope with in our family are lack of sleep and Boo’s prolonged incontinence. Insomnia is common in people with autism, due to abnormally low levels of melatonin; the hormone which tells the body when it is time to sleep. Boo has had difficulty sleeping since she was a toddler, when she would find mischief to get up to. Toys and blankies were thrown out, clothing and bedding tossed across the room, wallpaper peeled off, nappies (and often their contents) removed, shaken about and examined intricately. As adorable as Boo was as a toddler, the horror of cleaning up after these episodes makes me glad those days are over. Thankfully we soon got wise to Boo’s night-time shenanigans and employed gaffer tape on her nappies, covered by vest, onesie, and all zipped up inside a sleepsack. These measures only worked some of the time. Toilet training took over three years, and at times it felt like we’d never get there. Nowadays, Boo usually uses the bathroom independently and falls asleep with the help of a melatonin capsule at bedtime, but is an early riser. She sometimes wakes up for the day as early as 3.30am.

Tired parents are never a good thing. It is a struggle to be patient and jolly when you’ve only had half a good night’s sleep. Add to the mix a child who doesn’t particularly want to get ready for school, another who wants to but can’t quite do it on her own and then Boo who will only put on each item of clothing after she has fully explained, in infinitesimal detail, the latest goings on in the world of Moshi Monsters. Everything takes ten times longer than it should. Autistic people very often have a love of routine and like things to be familiar, predictable and unchanging. This can result in rigidity of thought about certain routines, which can vary from slight to obsessivecompulsive. Boo has a few of her own routines which she is very particular about, such as the order in which she will put on her clothes, especially in the winter when hat, scarf, gloves, coat, then earmuffs have to be put on in that exact order before she will leave the house. Good coffee has become an essential. As has the occasional school run in PJs under my coat. Another daily challenge is Boo’s lack of consideration for other people or property.

When diagnosing ASD, one of the traits that doctors look for is a lack of social imagination; which includes an inability in the individual to predict, understand or empathise with how another person might feel. Boo lives in the moment, with little regard for the consequences of her actions. Today, feeling frustrated with a game, Boo threw her DS against a chest of drawers. Recently, my MP3 player suffered a similar fate. Hardly a day goes by when something isn’t damaged, defaced or destroyed, just because she had the urge to do it, in that moment. If it doesn’t upset Boo, then she finds it a challenge to understand why it would upset anyone else. Sometimes there is the worry that something more valuable than property will be damaged. We had to give up walking to school back when Boo was still in Nursery, because she would regularly give me the slip and run into the road. Often, she will break free of my grip in the supermarket and before I know it she’s gone. Wrist reins were no good – she would either wriggle out of them or scream so much that people would stare and wonder whether to call Social Services. We kitted her out in a high-visibility vest, a remote-control beeper on her shoe and wrist-bands with our phone numbers on, just in case. Living with Boo has taught us not to take anything for granted. Her autism affects the whole family on some level, so everyday life is rarely straightforward. I know that there are plenty of other families living with autism who are having a much harder time than we are, so when life feels stressful I try to remember to be thankful. It could be so much worse. And thinking about Boo and her sisters – that smile creeps across my face again – it’s easy to be thankful.

FAMILIES LEEDS | January/February 27

… E D I U G R E T N I W n O What’s

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FAMILIES LEEDS | January/February

Saturday 12th January Also Sat 19th Jan

Healthy Bones THACKRAY MUSEUM Craft activities themed around healthy bones. Drop in session.

Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th January McEureka! Burns Night Weekend EUREKA! Och Aye. Come to the National Children’s Museum in Halifax to celebrate the birthday of Robbie Burns. Celebrate Scottish culture in music, dance and storytelling. There’s even a game of Hunt the Haggis!

Saturday 2nd February Heart Month THACKRAY MUSEUM Craft activities themed around the heart. Drop in session.

Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd February Chinese New Year EUREKA! Welcome the Year of the Snake with celebrations at the National Children’s Museum. Lots of craft, music and dance activities.

Thackray Museum

HALF TERM Friday 15th – Sunday 24th February Neverland EUREKA! Join Peter Pan and his friends with an adventure through Neverland. See the story come to life at the National Children’s Museum.

Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th February Scarecrow Building Workshop RHS HARLOW CARR Build a scarecrow at these bookable workshops and enter the competition to have yours displayed at RHS Harlow Carr. Families can create life size scarecrows and entries will be displayed for a week with visitors able to vote for their favourite. Pre booking essential. £7 per scarecrow.

Saturday 16th – Tuesday 19th February The Newest Things in Store LEEDS MUSEUM DISCOVERY CENTRE It’s not just old things that find their way into our museums. Come along and take a look at some of the youngest, most contemporary additions to the collections at Leeds Museums.

FAMILIES LEEDS | January/February 29

Saturday 16th – Sunday 24th February Horrid Henry’s House of Horror NATIONAL MEDIA MUSEUM Head to Bradford this half term to be part of a Horrid Henry extravaganza. Design your own horrible monster. Step into Horrid Henry’s spooky house. Take a look at the website for a full diary of Horrid Henry activities. Smelly Fun TEMPLE NEWSAM Explore the smells as well as the sights of Temple Newsam House by creating a smelly bag and taking a stinky stroll trail around the house. Bag making begins on Tuesday 19th Feb with morning sessions 11am – 12.30pm and afternoon sessions 1.30 – 3.30pm. Outdoors & Nature FOUNTAINS ABBEY Go wild about birds this half term and head out on a Bird Brains Trail. There’s feathery fun at Swanley Grange with lots of craft activities. 11am – 3pm.



Love Birds LOTHERTON HALL Drop in craft activities including a bird trail, puzzles, meet the keeper, story telling, nest box and bird feeder making. Great playground for winter fun and a great café to warm up afterwards! Half Term Fun HAREWOOD HOUSE Craft activities and an interactive trail. Great place to head to when you’re in need of some fresh air and family fun. Scarecrow Festival RHS HARLOW CARR If you’re a crow, you’re probably best staying away from RHS Harlow Carr this half term. As part of the Scarecrow Festival, there’ll be a family fun trail, lots of craft activities (11am – 3pm daily) and a scarecrow building competition. If you win, your masterpiece will be displayed in these prestigious gardens.




FAMILIES LEEDS | January/February

Monday 18th – Friday 22nd February

Wednesday 20th February

RSPB Bird Craft Activities RHS HARLOW CARR Learn how to encourage birds into your garden with this visit from the RSPB. Make a sticky bird treat and enjoy craft activities and quizzes. Drop in sessions from 10am – 3pm.

Wicked Wednesday Witches & Wizards ABBEY HOUSE MUSEUM Fun magic crafts and activities inspired by the Fate & Fickle Fortune Exhibition. 10am & 2pm start.

Tuesday 19th February

Geocaching Taster Day FOUNTAINS ABBEY Join in with a digital treasure hunt. Find out how to hide and seek the geocaches and borrow a GPS unit to have a go. Great fun! 11am – 3pm.

Make a Bird Box THWAITE MILLS Family workshop from 1 – 3pm.

Wednesday 20th – Friday 22nd February

Lucky the Rabbit’s Crafts ABBEY HOUSE MUSEUM Crafts and activities inspired by the theme of good luck. Now that’s something we all need in 2013! From 10am – 12 noon & 2 – 4pm.

Bird Box Making FOUNTAINS ABBEY Come and make a wooden bird box for your garden in this hands on workshop. Booking essential. 01765 643 197. £5 per box.

Tuesday 19th & Wednesday 20th February

Thursday 21st & Friday 22nd February

Crafty Critters LEEDS CITY MUSEUM Explore the super new exhibition – Natural Beauty – and then get creative with animal and wildlife themed craft activities. 11am – 3pm.

WhoDunnit Murder Mystery ABBEY HOUSE MUSEUM Discover the darker side of Victorian Leeds with these terrible tours beginning at 10am, 11am, 2pm & 3pm. Join the museum detectives to solve the murder.

RHS Harlow Carr

FAMILIES LEEDS | January/February 31

Friday 22nd February Barry the Dragon’s Year of the Snake Crafts ABBEY HOUSE MUSEUM Welcome the Year of the Snake with craft sessions inspired by the natural history collection. 10am & 2pm start.

Sunday 24th February Bird Ringing RHS HARLOW CARR Join the Bird Trust for Ornithology to help out with a special bird survey. They’ll be catching, netting, ringing and recording the birds that live at RHS Harlow Carr. 10am – 3pm.

Open Mornings th

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THEATRE Until Saturday 19th January Wind in the Willows WEST YORKSHIRE PLAYHOUSE


Until Saturday 19th January Sleeping Beauty WEST YORKSHIRE PLAYHOUSE

Tuesday 19th February The Selfish Crocodile THE CARRIAGEWORKS

Wednesday 20th – Thursday 21st February Spots Birthday Party HARROGATE THEATRE

Thursday 21st – Saturday 23rd February Stuck WEST YORKSHIRE PLAYHOUSE

Where each individual is celebrated and nurtured 11 Ben Rhydding Road Ilkley LS29 8RL 01943 607285

Inspire Engage Achieve Enjoy An outstanding education for boys and girls from 3 -18 years, combining the proven benefits of single-sex education with a vast array of co-curricular activities. Senior Schools Entrance Examinations – (11+) Tuesday 15th January 2013 Junior Schools Open Morning 9.30am – 12 Noon Wednesday 23rd January 2013 Junior Schools Entrance Tests and Assessments – (4 + to 10 +) Week commencing Monday 4th February 2013

Fee assistance is available from 7 years of age where net parental income is £40,000 or less per annum. At 11+ and 16+, prestigious bursaries are available for entry into our Senior Schools worth up to 100% of fees.

U A rich and proud history since 1591 U Exemplary single-sex learning for pupils from 4-18 years U Opportunity to study subjects taught jointly at Sixth Form U Fees are fully inclusive of school lunches, text books and principal public examination fees U Fee assistance available from 7 years of age U Located together and accessible from across South and West Yorkshire

Mulberry House Nursery Newly refurbished with state-of-the-art facilities. Full and part-time places available now for boys and girls age 3-4 years.

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