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Getting the best start in life

The future is bright for Brent’s young people. After an excellent set of GCSE and A-level results, the world is their oyster. The proportion of pupils in Brent achieving five GCSEs grades A*-C rose by 2 percentage points to 62 per cent this year and the A-level students maintained a pass rate of 97 per cent.

I would encourage anyone aged 16 and over to check out the brilliant range of courses – academic and vocational, daytime and evening, at the five different educational centres over the borough. Most people know these as adult education courses but the official new name is Brent Start and they will be open for enrolment from 2 September.

Plans to expand two local primary schools were also given the green light earlier this week as part of the council's school expansion programme. Uxendon Manor and Elsey primary schools will be expanded to accept an additional two forms which will help to meet some of the increased demand for places in Brent.

Continuing the positive news, Barnardo's, the leading children’s charity, will manage the 14 children's centres across the borough. A four year contract has been awarded to them and this will save the council around £750,000, which is good news at a time of cuts in our budgets. Barnardo’s already runs 170 children’s centres across the UK so I can confidently say that Brent’s parents and young children are in safe and experienced hands.

From children’s centres to libraries - I’m sure parents were grateful for the wonderful libraries we have in Brent as the long summer holiday draws to a close. It looks like the summer reading challenge was a huge success and I look forwarded to attending the celebration event on 5 September at the new Library at Willesden Green.

Boasting 40,000 books, 140 study spaces, 81 PCs, and 14 iPads for public use, the new Library at Willesden Green replaces the old building that was built in the 1980's and I am really looking forward to the official opening on 12 September.

Finally, thanks for everyone who gave their views in recent the youth services consultation. The final report about the new model for youth services will be published on 19 October.

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