Congratulations to Cardiff’s A-level and GCSE Students

Congratulations to all those young people in Cardiff who have recently received their GCSE and A-level results.

Raising educational standards is a one of my administration’s top priorities and the results confirmed the continuing high standard and improvement of performance across Cardiff’s secondary schools.

For A-Levels, Cardiff schools remain well above the average for Wales, with 27.4% of students in Cardiff gaining the highest grades of A* and A, compared to 23.3% in Wales as a whole and 26% in England. In addition, 77.1% of students in Cardiff schools achieved grades A* – C, which was 1.9% higher than the all Wales figure.

And for GCSE’s, the percentage of Cardiff students achieving five A* to C grades including Mathematics and English has risen to 54%, a 4% increase on 2013 results, the largest year on year percentage increase seen in the city for many years, and the proportion of pupils attaining GCSE grades A* to C or equivalent has risen by 2% from 73% to 75%.

This success is based on the hard work of students, teachers and school support staff, together with the essential support and encouragement of families.  And so I want to say well done to everyone and wish you every success as you move on to A-levels, college, university, training or employment.


Core Cities Group

I welcome last week’s announcement that Glasgow will formally be joining the Core Cities Group. This decision provides further recognition of the important role that cities have to play in the British economy.  It also demonstrates that cities and city-regions are now being seen nationally as the keys to unlocking economic growth and to rebalancing the British economy away from London and the South East of England.

Cardiff is one of the UK’s fastest growing cities and is bouncing back strongly from the recession. In short, it’s a huge asset for the Welsh economy, which is why Wales cannot afford to ignore this agenda. If Cardiff– and the Capital Cardiff Region – is to keep pace with other leading cities, we will need additional investment, discretion over how this investment is spent and flexibilities in terms of raising revenues – all of which are at the heart of the City Deals being struck with the UK Government Treasury by other British cities.

Cardiff is also in advanced discussions to join the Core Cities Group and I’m pleased with the progress we’re making on this. 

I will provide a further update on our work with other major British cities in the near future.

 

Hwyl!

 

A new bus interchange for Cardiff – let us know what you think

Last month I blogged about the exciting plans for the regeneration of Central Square following the announcement that BBC Cymru Wales will be relocating their headquarters to the site of the existing bus station, which is due to be relocated by June 2015. As part of future work to transform this quarter in the city centre, the City of Cardiff Council is committed to working with our partners to deliver a world class gateway into the city that will include a new bus interchange.

We are now seeking the views of residents, commuters, businesses and visitors on the location of the new bus interchange next to Cardiff Central train station, which will be located either to the north or south of the station.

A public consultation survey was launched online on Friday 8th August and can be found at:
http://www.surveys.cardiff.gov.uk/busstation2014/

Paper copies of the survey will be available on local buses, at the bus station, in libraries and in hubs later this month, as well as in the Capital Times newspaper from early September. Public consultation will also be taking place at Cardiff Central station in order to engage directly with public transport users from Cardiff and across the city-region.

The 8-week consultation period is due to end on Friday 3rd October and I would urge everyone to have their say and fill out the survey so that they can play their part in shaping the future of this important new facility. Following the end of the consultation period, a decision on the preferred location, specification and preferred funding approach for the new bus interchange is expected to be made by the Council’s Cabinet in December.


As Council Leader in the City of Cardiff, I want to pass on my congratulations to all of the Team Wales participants at the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and, in particular, those sportsmen and women from Cardiff, such as Geraint Thomas MBE from Birchgrove who won a memorable gold medal for Wales in the men’s cycling road race. Overall, Team Wales won a record total of 36 medals exceeding their pre-Games medal target of 27 medals.

I’m sure that the people of Cardiff will turn out in force to congratulate them when they attend the national celebration event to be held at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay on Wednesday 10th September, which will be hosted jointly by the First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM, and the National Assembly for Wales’ Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler AM.

The City of Cardiff Council is continuing to explore with the Welsh Government and Sport Wales the potential benefits and costs to Wales of bidding for a future Commonwealth Games. I am due to visit Glasgow in October to meet the Leader of Glasgow City Council, to discuss the regeneration of the city and the hosting of major events, including learning from their experiences of bidding for and staging the 2014 Games. It will take some time to evaluate the Glasgow experience and therefore a final decision is not expected any time soon but I’ll be sure to keep you updated!

Finally, this week Cardiff welcomes another major international sporting occasion to the city with the UEFA Super Cup Final between Real Madrid and Sevilla being held at Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday 12th August. It’s a great opportunity for football fans to see three of the five most expensive players in the world playing right here in Cardiff and also to welcome Gareth Bale back home to the city, this time in the famous white shirt of the European Champions, Real Madrid. I extend a very warm Cardiff welcome to all the Spanish football fans that will be travelling to our city for this important match.

Diolch!

Manchester, the Core Cities and the Cardiff Debate

Last week, I travelled to Manchester to visit representatives of the English Core Cities. The Core Cities Group provides a united local authority voice to promote the role of cities in driving economic growth. It’s made up of England’s eight largest city economies outside London, which are home to around 16 million people within the wider city regions – almost a third of the population of England. These core cities also generate 27% of England’s wealth which, collectively, is more than London.

In Wales, Cardiff has much in common with these core cities in terms of our importance to both the wider regional and national economy. Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan are responsible for over a fifth of the value of Wales’ economic output and between 2009 and 2012, 38% of all new private sector jobs in Wales were created in Cardiff. It is therefore important that as a city, we engage in these wider policy discussions because they can help to accelerate growth and prosperity for both Cardiff and the wider South Wales region.

Whilst in Manchester, I met with Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council and Chair of the Core Cities Group, as well as Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council. We had a very interesting discussion about successful city-regions, the moves to devolve new powers to cities and regions, as well as sustainable regeneration. There were certainly many common challenges between us and a shared view of the way forward.

I intend to continue this engagement with cities across Europe so that we can ensure Cardiff is best placed to deal with both the challenges and opportunities ahead.

On the issue of regeneration, also on the agenda was a visit to Manchester’s NOMA development.

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NOMA is a 20 acre regeneration of urban land owned by The Co-operative Group and Hermes Real Estate. NOMA’s ambition is to be more than buildings and spaces, but a new chapter in the Manchester story by creating high quality living space. The development offered a mix of places to work, live, visit, shop, eat and be entertained and my visit provided an insight into how other cities are taking forward their regeneration agenda, as well as providing an opportunity to talk about Cardiff’s own exciting development plans.


Back in June I blogged about the launch of the Cardiff Debate, an ongoing programme of engagement on the future of public services in our city. So far the Cardiff Debate has visited numerous areas across the city, attending many community events and venues, and will be visiting many more in the coming months.

Initially, residents were asked about what they thought our priorities should be for the city, as well as listening to ideas on how we can do things differently. We also wanted to know how local people and communities could get more involved in supporting these changes.

The Cardiff Debate is now beginning to hold ‘drop in workshops’ across the city. At the workshops people will be asked about the type of services they use and what matters most about how public services are delivered. Part of the discussion will also involve considering alternative approaches to delivering services.

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It’s been really interesting to read many of the good ideas residents have shared on how the City of Cardiff Council and its partners can do things differently to meet the challenges we face.

These ideas range from dimming some street lights in the early hours of the morning, to putting solar panels on all public buildings. It’s great that so many people have taken part so far, these are just the start of these conversations, and there will be further opportunities for people to get involved in the future. As I have outlined in previous posts, there are some very important decisions that will need to be made that will determine the nature of public services in the city, and the council’s current Administration is committed to involving people in this process.

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Details of the latest on-street engagement sessions and drop-in workshops can be found in Splott Library, Cathays Library, Plasnewydd Community Hall, Penylan Community Centre, Channel View Leisure Centre, STAR Leisure Centre, Central Library, Llandaff North Library, Radyr Library and Grangetown Library.

Cardiff Debate postcards and post boxes are also now located at the city centre Advice Hub at Marland House, Butetown Hub, Llanrumney Hub, St Mellons Hub, Ely and Caerau Hub, Western Leisure Centre, Fairwater Leisure Centre, Maindy Leisure Centre, Llanishen Leisure Centre and County Hall.

Members of the public can also complete the Cardiff Debate survey online at: www.surveys.cardiff.gov.uk/cardiffdebate

To find out more on the latest summer events as well as the feedback from sessions held so far, visit the Cardiff Debate Twitter @CardiffDebate or Facebook pages.