Category Archives: council

Fascinating objects found during St George’s Hall refurbishment

Some fascinating objects have been found during the refurbishment of St George’s Hall in Bradford.

Workers carrying out the £8.5 million refurbishment of the Grade II listed building have found several interesting objects tucked away including a handbill from 1871 promoting a programme of Saturday Night Entertainment, which was printed by J Clegg Printer by Steam Power, Infirmary Street, Bradford.

The programme for the evening included Madam Tonnelier performing songs in character from the Grand Duchess, as well as a line-up of music and sketches including Irish and Scottish songs and stories by Mr and Mrs Forster O’Neill accompanied on the piano by their daughter Flora.

An account of the same performance by the Forster family can be found in the newspaper The Waterford News, from Friday 5 June 1868, when they appeared at the Assembly Rooms, City Hall.

The article says “Mr and Mrs J.F. O’Neill, the justly celebrated delineators of Irish character in its true form, accompanied by their young and interesting daughter, Miss Flora O’Neill, an accomplished pianist, have been nightly drawing fashionable and crowded audiences to the Assembly Room, City Hall, to see them in their famed and laughter-creating comic and musical entertainment.”

The article goes on to say that Mr O’Neill, “as an Irish comedian, is, perhaps, unrivalled, certainly not excelled, at the present day” and a performance given by Mrs O’Neill “is one of the best Irish delineations we have ever seen” and “her song, “My Love Dan,” is hit off in such a true Irish nature that the house each night is in raptures and, as a matter of course, it has to be repeated.”

Workers have also found the front page of the Daily Express newspaper from 10 January 1928. The front page contains an article about plans to build a barrage in the wake of the Great Flood of London, which had taken place only a few days earlier, on 7 January 1928. The flood claimed 14 lives and left thousands of Londoners homeless.

Other items found when the old seats were removed from the Dress Circle, include a wrapper from a Cadbury’s Flake when they only cost 6d, an old Galaxy Milk Chocolate wrapper and several cigarette packets, including a Black Cat Cigarettes tin lid possibly from the 1930’s, a Wild Woodbine cigarette packet, an Ogden’s Robin cigarette packet and Craven A cigarette packet.

There were also two concert tickets one for a Bradford Subscription Concert and one for the 31st Annual Speech Night for The Priestman School held at the venue on Wednesday 14 March 1956, with Ernest Cummins giving a speech and Mrs Cummins presenting the prizes.

The items found will form part of the permanent archive display held by Bradford Theatres.

St George’s Hall which is located in Bradford city centre is currently undergoing major refurbishment which has been made possible by funding from Bradford Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The refurbishment of St George’s Hall, one of the oldest remaining concert halls in the UK, will ensure that this heritage building is maintained and brought up to standard as a top class venue adding to the fantastic cultural offer in Bradford.

Coun Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Culture, said: “These are fascinating finds that give us a glimpse into the history of this wonderful venue and the types of entertainment that was popular at the time. It’s amazing to think that the theatre was only 18 years old when the handbill was dropped between the seats in the rear gallery.

“Work on St George’s Hall is progressing well and I’m sure once complete will secure the building for future generations of audiences.”

For information on the progress of the refurbishment of St George’s Hall visit

Follow Bradford Theatres on Twitter: @BradfordTheatre





Bradford headteacher puts city’s education on the world stage at major Chinese conference

A headteacher from a Bradford primary school has helped to put the city on the global education map as she appeared as a keynote speaker at a major education conference held in China.

Gill Edge, co- headteacher of Killinghall Primary School, was invited by the Chinese National Institute of Education Sciences to speak at their fourth China Future Schools Conference.

She spoke about how technology is used to assess, support and improve teaching at her school in Bradford, which has recently been rated as Good by Ofsted inspectors.

She told the conference in China how software is used to provide feedback and assessment to her staff to help with their professional development and to raise standards at the school.

The conference was attended by more than 1,000 delegates from across China and other international speakers who were attending as members of the Future School Laboratory.

Membership is based on meeting entry criteria and then being regularly re-assessed and only the best performing schools in China qualify. The Future School Laboratory was established by the Chinese Government to identify how to improve curriculum, learning spaces, educational technology and assessment. Its role is to support the government in its decision making and provide practical solutions for schools in China.
Gill gave her perspective as head of Killinghall Primary to demonstrate how the effective use of education technology in the UK has helped to identify strengths and weaknesses in the teaching in school and how working together with her staff they have been able to make rapid improvements.
She said: “It was a massive event and I was talking to an audience of more than 1,000 people. I was very proud to represent Bradford as I feel we are often not recognised for the excellent work that goes on in our schools across the district.

“There are currently no established teaching standards in China. I was able to explain how teaching standards are used nationally in the UK and how supporting and challenging teachers through appraisal has improved the quality of teaching and learning in our schools.”

She also took part in a roundtable discussion with leading educators from Finland, Hong Kong and China to discuss individualised learning and how it was implemented in each of their countries. She said that “individualised learning is well developed in Bradford where education is about the whole child – we aim to build resilience and empathy as well as ensuring children are competent in basic skills. Being ready for the world of work and prepared for future employment we may not yet be able to imagine is our aim.”

She was accompanied at the conference by James de Bass, chief executive officer and founder of Educate, the UK company that produces the Standards Tracker software which Killinghall Primary School use.

More children will get moving as part of an innovative £100m Sport England scheme

More children in Bradford will get moving as part of an innovative £100m Sport England- scheme to tackle the problem of physical inactivity.Active Bradford.

Projects across the north of the city will receive a share of National Lottery funding over four years to transform physical activity levels in 5 to 14-year-olds.

Born in Bradford, a research project hosted at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust led the successful bid on behalf of Active Bradford, a partnership of local providers, to become one of Sport England’s 12 Local Delivery Pilots.

Research has shown that low levels of physical activity during childhood and adolescence can lead to physical and mental health problems including diabetes, obesity and low self-esteem.  It can also have a negative impact on children and young people’s academic achievement, and social and life skills.

Physical inactivity is linked to serious problems in the city:

  • Born in Bradford data has shown that 77% of 5-11 year-olds don’t do the recommended 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity each day
  • 38% leave primary school overweight or obese
  • 10% fewer Bradford children leave school with 5 GCSEs A*-C grade
  • One in ten children need support for mental health issues

The funding from Sport England will improve opportunities for children and young people to take part in physical activity and sport. This will make a major contribution to improving health, mental wellbeing, individual development, community development and quality of life.

The Bradford pilot will work with communities to understand what children and young people want and need to become more active, and feel like physical activity and sport is for them.  Projects will include new and innovative programmes and adaptations to community design along with more out-of-school-hours activity programmes, better lighting in parks, and safer spaces.

The Bradford pilot will test out new projects across the north of the city in Allerton, Fairweather Green, Toller, Heaton, Manningham, City, Bolton/Undercliffe, Windhill, Eccleshill, and replicate successful projects across the district.

Principal Research Fellow for Born in Bradford, Dr Sally Barber said: “Activity levels are worryingly low and harming our children. This funding is an incredible opportunity to explore what children and young people want and need to be more active and test innovative projects. Knowing what works can drive sustainable change in physical activity levels and improve lives.”

Chief Executive of Bradford Council, Kersten England added: “It’s difficult to over-state the importance of this investment for the youngest city in the UK, where one in four residents are under 16.

“Whilst many of our young residents get a great start in life and we produce outstanding sportswomen and men, too many of our children are physically inactive, impairing their health and prospects for their future lives. This programme will enable us to trial new and innovative approaches to increased participation in physical activity. We can’t wait to get started!”

Chair of Active Bradford, Wayne Jacobs said: “We are absolutely delighted to be chosen as a Sport England Local Delivery Pilot. It was a real team effort to win the bid, with Active Bradford partners, senior and community leaders, and children and young people all playing their part. We hope and anticipate the learning from this project will have a very real and positive impact on the lives of children and young people growing up in our communities and beyond.”

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for Environment, Sport and Culture said ‘This is brilliant news for Bradford  district, one of  the youngest cities in the Uk,  and this funding will help improve the health and wellbeing of children, young people and their families in some of the most deprived communities. This funding will enable us to use new fun and exciting approaches designed with those in the greatest need to  mobilise  our communities to become more active.”

Sport England reviewed 113 pilot bids from across the country and hopes to spread learning from the Bradford pilot to other places about what works and what doesn’t.

Active Bradford will lead the programme supported by Born in Bradford, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, the NHS, West Yorkshire Police, Yorkshire Sport Foundation, the voluntary sector, local schools, and faith organisations. All will work together to develop and deliver the projects to support children and young people to be physically active.

Minster for Sport, Tracey Crouch, will welcome the news at the Local Government Association’s Sport and Physical Activity conference in London today (Tuesday 5 December).

Minister for Sport, Tracey Crouch, said: “Sport is a powerful tool that helps strengthen communities and improves physical and mental health. So it is right that we look to do all we can to encourage people to take part. Sport England will invest up to £100 million of funding, thanks to National Lottery players, to pilot innovative projects in 12 places to get more people from all backgrounds involved in sport and physical activity. We will look to replicate and scale up learning from the pilots across the country. I look forward to seeing these projects in action.”

Jennie Price, Sport England Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted that Bradford will be working with us on this ground-breaking investment. We want to get to the heart of the issues that stop people being as active as they might like to be, and work alongside every part of the community and the groups and institutions that support this.

“This is not all about sport – we’re prepared to look at wider issues like transport, childcare, how easy it is to walk or cycle – whatever that community feels is most relevant to them. The process to be appointed as a pilot area for this work was incredibly competitive, and Bradford has emerged from a very strong field. I am really delighted to be working with them.’​




Bradford launches campaign to find teachers who can make a difference

The Bradford for Teaching campaign is the latest step being taken in Bradford to boost teacher recruitment and retention.

A new website has been created,  which allows people to find out more about the opportunities to train and work in Bradford’s schools.

There will also be a major social media campaign through Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.

Ten inspirational teachers and school leaders from the district have been chosen to be Bradford for Teaching Ambassadors. They will share their stories on social media about the impact their work is having  in order to help promote Bradford to teachers outside the district.

The new campaign follows on from the success of the Bradford bus tours which the council has organised to bring teacher training students into the district’ schools to see their work for themselves.

The Bradford for Teaching ambassadors have been chosen from schools across the district to champion Bradford and the rewards of teaching here.

One of those ambassadors is Luke Sparkes, the executive principal of Dixons Trinity Academy.

He said: “Bradford is an exceptional community: diverse, ambitious and culturally rich; it is a city which deserves teachers who are truly values driven and want to make a difference.  There is a strong current of educational innovation in Bradford with two secondary schools placing in the top 30 nationally for progress in summer 2017.

Ambassador Aamir Hassan, an assistant faculty leader and English teacher at Beckfoot School in Bingley said: “Teaching in Bradford is rewarding, extraordinary and what I live to do. I am inspired everyday by the students and we all learn from one another. Working with young people is an enriching experience and I wouldn’t want that experience anywhere else- Bradford is truly the place to be for teaching.”

Coun Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Education, Employment and Skills said: “Bradford for Teaching is a vitally important campaign for the district.

“We are determined to provide the best possible education for all our young people. We know that the quality of our teachers is vital in turning this ambition into a reality. Bradford is a vibrant and diverse district.

“Our schools offer a variety of different opportunities and challenges, with the chance to work in different settings from urban and inner city schools to those serving rural communities. But we are all united by a shared commitment to ensure our young people achieve their potential. I hope the Bradford for Teaching campaign will inspire more teachers to join us on this journey.”

The campaign will involve a partnership of schools across the Bradford district. It is being funded by Bradford Council and co-ordinated by the Northern Lights Teaching School Alliance.

Bradford already leads the way in innovative work to recruit and retain the best teachers.

Bradford Council committed to investing £660,000 on teacher recruitment over a three year period. Since then the authority has run the highly successful bus tours taking teacher training students into Bradford schools to see the work they do for themselves.

It has also set up a Talent Bank which is used by school leaders to fill their vacancies with the best suited candidates. This has helped to recruit around 200 new teachers to Bradford schools over the past two years.

Now partners in Bradford are keen to build on this success with a campaign which celebrates and promotes the district more widely as a place where teachers at any stage of their career can make a difference.

Literacy campaign in Bradford gets £197,000 funding boost

Bradford has received a funding boost to improve literacy standards across the district. Below is a press release from the National Literacy Trust which works with the Council to raise standards.

National Literacy Trust press release below:

“A literacy campaign from the National Literacy Trust and Bradford City Council has received a new £197,000 funding grant from the Morrisons Foundation, a charity set up by the supermarket, to boost literacy levels in Bradford.

The funding will be used to deliver literacy activity in Bradford for a year. Launched as the Bradford Literacy Campaign, the initiative has been active in the city since 2012.

Over the past five years, 30 local partners have supported literacy in Bradford and the National Literacy Trust has worked with over 200 schools in the area. Key successes include the Our Stories poetry project, which was launched to engage pupils with low literacy, especially boys. Over the course of the programme, the percentage of Year 6 pupils reaching the expected level in writing increased from 46% to 92%, while their self-esteem and confidence also increased significantly.

Neonatal work has also been a key success for the campaign. Working with Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, neonatal charity Bliss and Boots Opticians, the campaign gave out 500 story packs to parents of premature babies. The packs included books for parents to read to their babies and tips and information on how communication can help development.

As it moves into a new phase, the campaign will be rebranded as Bradford Stories. The new name celebrates the rich heritage of Bradford and highlights the importance of families, young people and different communities in the city sharing stories with one another.

Over the next year, the Bradford Stories campaign will focus on addressing literacy issues facing families in Bradford, including engaging dads and male carers in their children’s learning and getting families reading with their children every day. The campaign will also highlight the benefits of bilingualism, and launch new initiatives targeting local schools and volunteers from the local community.

To celebrate the new funding and campaign name, Bradford Stories is calling on all Bradford residents to snap a photo of their favourite place to share stories in the city, and post the picture on social media using the hashtag #BradfordStories. The best pictures will win prizes including book tokens.

Imran Hafeez, Manager of the Bradford Stories campaign, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have been awarded this funding from the Morrisons Foundation to continue our work to raise literacy levels in Bradford. Since launching the campaign, we’ve delivered lots of inspiring projects and achieved great results, but there is still more to be done to ensure every child in Bradford has the literacy skills they need to succeed. Our partnership work has been crucial to the success of the campaign to date – with this new funding we can expand this work further and reach more people across Bradford than ever!”

The Morrisons Foundation was set up by Morrisons supermarkets in 2015 and awards grants for charity projects which help to improve people’s lives. Since launching over £15 million has been donated to hundreds of charities across England, Scotland and Wales.

David Scott, Morrisons Foundation Trustee, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the National Literacy Trust’s work in Bradford as we know what an important difference this can make for families from across the city.”

To find out more about the Bradford Stories campaign, visit


Come to Bradford for Christmas

With so many activities across the district, Bradford is the place to be for Christmas.

There will be Christmas lights switch on events across the district as well as lots of music and entertainment, pantomimes, a fun fair and lots of Christmas fairs and markets, traditional Christmas Services including Nine Lessons and Carols at the Cathedral, there’s even a Christmas Tree Festival and the annual Epilepsy Action Reindeer Stampede will see antler clad runners tackle the 5k route round Lister Park.

A funfair will light up in City Park and Tyrrel Street from Thursday November 30 until Sunday December 3 with children’s rides and dodgems. Christmas street theatre will entertain shoppers on the pedestrian areas in the city centres between 12pm and 5pm on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 December. With 20 colourful acts including Santa and his sleigh, snowmen, fairies, elves, dancing turkeys, penguins, Rudolph, snow globes and stilt walkers all providing festive frolics and music. There may even be added snow.

The Alhambra Theatre’s outstanding pantomime will once again star the fantastic Billy Pearce who this year is taking on the role as Buttons with singer and Loose Women panellist Coleen Nolan playing the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, with performances from 16 December to 28 January.

Other Christmas shows and concerts include a Christmas Night With The Stars with tribute act performances from Cher, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Michael Buble, Freddie Mercury and Shirley Bassey at Ilkley’s King’s Hall and Winter Gardens, folk rock pioneers Steeleye Span, famous for their 1973 Christmas hit Gaudete at Ilkley’s King’s Hall and Winter Gardens, an evening of dance, songs and festive cheer comes to the Alhambra theatre with the Christmas Words show on 7 December and The Chicago Blues Brothers bring their brand new festive show to the Alhambra on December 8.

An array of Christmas markets and craft fairs are being held across the district including the fantastic Victorian Christmas event at the Industrial Museum on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 November, Ilkley King’s Hall and Winter Gardens will be the venue for a Christmas Craft and Gift Fayre on Sunday 26 November, a Christmas Market will take place in Central Park in Haworth on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 December and the Made Bradford Market will be held in Darley Street on Saturday 2 and Saturday 16 December.

There will be lots of festive fun at Bradford Council-run markets over the Christmas period with a Christmas Trade Fair hosted by Young Enterprise on Saturday 9 December inside the Oastler Shopping Centre, children’s interactive workshops, traditional Christmas entertainment from the Salvation Army Band, Pennine Chimes and school choir in the Oastler Shopping Centre and Kirkgate Market in the city centre and a Santa’s grotto along with festive entertainment at Keighley Market.

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Coun Abid Hussain has just launched the annual Lord Mayor’s Appeal Christmas Star’s Appeal, where people dedicate a star to a loved one for the Christmas tree in City Hall.

The Lord Mayor’s Appeal annual Christmas Lunch takes place on Friday December 15 in City Hall and raises money for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal.

For those wanting to get active there is the Epilepsy Action Reindeer Stampede with a 5k run and a mini stampede for children, Bradford Council’s Countryside and Rights of Way team has also organised two Christmas walks, a 5.5 mile Candlemass Eve walk on December 9 and a 4 mile Christmas Cheer walk on December 13.

Switch-on events with markets and fairs will be taking place across the district throughout November and December.

This year’s city centre Christmas lights will have a special light raising awareness of the White Ribbon Campaign, the global campaign to end male violence against women. Incidences of domestic violence rise significantly during the festive period. The light will be turned on as part of the Christmas lights switch-on and will remain illuminated during the Christmas period including on White Ribbon day, 25 November.

The annual City Carol Service takes place at the Cathedral on Monday 18 December. The service is open to anyone and is attended by the Lord Mayor and civic leaders.

Coun Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Environment, Sport and Culture, said: “Christmas is such a special time of year and these events in the city centre and across the district give people plenty of opportunities to celebrate.”

For more information about Christmas events in the district visit

Education Covenant to be topic of next public forum

Bradford’s Education Covenant will be the topic at the district’s next Public Forum for Education.

The Education Covenant is a district wide initiative focused on engaging the whole community to play a part in helping young people to succeed in life.  The Covenant is about keeping education a top priority to:
•           Help schools and teachers raise standards.
•           Support parents to get children ready for school, work and life.
•           Work with businesses and colleges to boost career options.
•           Champion the district’s unique art and culture.

The forum will take place on Wednesday, 29 November 2017 from 4.30pm to 6.30pm in the Hockney Room, Margaret McMillan Tower, Princes Way, Bradford BD1 1NN.

Speakers will include Leigh Taylor, Regional Director North East & Yorkshire Commercial Banking – Lloyds Bank. Leigh will explore how businesses can better support children and young people to help improve their educational outcomes and make successful transitions into work, and the business rationale for doing this work.

Staff and children from a local primary school will talk about their involvement in the launch of the Inspiring Bradford event.

Local magistrate, Gill Arnold, will talk about the work of the Bradford Community Champions.

There will also be an update on how the Education Covenant is being put into practice and how businesses and parents can make a difference.

The presentations will be followed by round table discussions and an opportunity to share your ideas with the panel and ask questions.

The Public Forum for Education (PFE) is an open and free forum where everyone with an interest in education is welcome to come along and contribute.

Coun Imran Khan, portfolio holder for education, employment and skills, said: “The idea behind the Education Covenant is to focus the efforts of everyone on how we can raise education standards. We want to bring together the whole community to support Bradford’s children: businesses, public services, parents, and communities, all have a role to play.

Michael Jameson, strategic director of children’s service, said:  “We know just how hard schools work to improve the outcomes for our children and education attainment is improving in our district. But we have more to do and we believe the whole community needs to be involved in young people’s education. That is why the Education Covenant is so important, so I’d urge parents, young people, teachers and businesses to come along and find out how they can be involved.”

To book your place, please email or contact Heidi Hardy on 01274 434335.

Spooky goings on in the markets in Bradford

Bradford Council’s markets team has organised several events to help shoppers to celebrate Halloween.

Oastler Shopping Centre – Saturday 28 October 12.30pm-4.30pm

The Young Master’s Visual Art School will be running a ‘mummy-making’ workshop. Under threes will be able to make a masking tape mummy and older children will be able to make their very own 3D repositionable mummy.

Local artist Musarat Raza, who is based at Cartwright Hall, will be running a Halloween mask making workshop for children of all ages.

There will also be a Halloween grotto where children can have their faces painted. Scary ghoulish characters will be parading the market. 

Oastler Shopping Centre – Friday 27 October 12-2pm

The Ministry of Food will have a live demo in the middle of the market showing people how to make pumpkin, spinach and chickpea curry. 

Keighley Market Hall – Saturday 28 October 10am-3pm

There will be a Halloween themed grotto where children can have their faces painted and spooky characters will parade the market hall. Traders will also getting into the spirit of the occasion by dressing up and handing out sweets.

Kirkgate Market, Bradford – Saturday 28 October 12-4pm

Kirkgate Market’s Joke Shop will be creating a large Halloween themed stall in the market providing a wide range of Halloween related items, including great fancy dress and accessories at great prices.

Children will also be able to get their faces painted and scary characters will roam the market floor to bring goose-bumps to shoppers.

Coun Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “Our markets team have lined up a great range of attractions to help families to celebrate Halloween, with something for everyone at these events.” 

Civic Reception held for the Bradford Bulls Ladies Rugby League Team

Bradford Bulls Ladies’ Squad made history this weekend by becoming the winners of the first Women’s Super League Grand Final.
The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Coun Abid Hussain, welcomed the team to City Hall on Tuesday 10 October for a Civic Reception to mark their all-conquering season.

The Ladies beat Featherstone Rovers 36 points to six in the Women’s Super League Grand Final at Manchester Regional Arena, last Saturday.

The Bulls completed a league and cup double after also beating Featherstone 50-16 in the Women’s Challenge Cup final in July, and went through the whole season unbeaten.

Bulls_Ladies -161
Bradford Bulls Ladies Rugby Squad Civic Reception

Coun Abid Hussain said: “Bradford has a long and proud tradition in rugby league. It is therefore fitting that the fantastic Bradford Bulls Ladies  team have become the winners of the first ever Women’s Super League Grand Final, writing a new chapter in our district’s sporting history.

“I hope their achievements will inspire others to take up this great sport.”

In addition, several of the Ladies have been selected to represent England Rugby League at the inaugural Women’s Rugby League World Cup.  We wish them all the very best of luck!


Bradford Council to boost voter registration

Bradford Council is urging residents not to get caught out and ensure they are registered to vote.

Throughout October the council will send out reminder letters and canvassers will visit properties where people haven’t responded.

The local authority will run an online and street poster campaign encouraging groups which are traditionally under represented on the electoral roll.

Registration allows people to vote in elections and referendums, positively contributes to credit scores and is a legal requirement.

Bradford district’s voter electoral registration rates are higher than the national average of 2.5% and have increased by 4.9%.

However, Bradford Council wishes to ensure as many people as possible take part in democratic processes.

Registration only takes a few minutes and can be done online at or by calling 01274 43 2287.

All people need is their name, address, date of birth and National Insurance number.

Kersten England, Electoral Registration and Returning Officer for Bradford district: “We are working hard to ensure as many people as possible are able to vote in elections and referendums.

“If an election is called and you’re not registered, you won’t be able to vote.

“Registering only takes a few minutes.

“Your vote matters! Don’t lose it.”