Sheffield pulls together to call for fairer school funding

Sheffielders are requesting additional money to be granted to schools, as many are facing difficulties due to unfair distribution of funding.

Headteachers, Sheffield MPs and senior council leaders will gather to visit Parliament on 19 March, aiming to raise public awareness of issues faced by schools across the city.

Simon Murch, an executive of the National Education Union and primary school teacher, said: “Historically Sheffield has always been funded poorly compared with other cities. The Fair Funding Formula introduced by the government was supposed to address such anomalies but it hasn’t.

”Members of the public need to be made aware this is a crisis. We are letting down the pupils in our care who only get one chance at education,” he added.

Mr Murch has set up a Fair Fund Sheffield page on Twitter to deliver the message about underfunding in Sheffield’s schools.

He warned that insufficient funding could mean that there will be teacher redundancies, increased teacher workload, bigger class sizes, fewer resources for students, reduced curriculum and many more.

Ian Read, headteacher of Watercliffe Meadow Primary School, has been forced to make redundancies to save £125,000 over the next 2 years, and has written an open letter to the Education Secretary Damian Hinds earlier in February.

Their worsening situation inspired his decision to lead other headteachers to visit Parliament.

Statements from different schools will also be delivered to Downing Street with the aid of Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield.

This comes after more than 8000 people have already signed a petition calling for fairer school funding, launched by The Star and Sheffield Telegraph last year.

Sheffield is the worst-funded of the core cities in England, according to figures for 2018/19 revealed by the Star. Sheffield receives £743 less per pupil than Manchester, £589 less than Nottingham and £478 less than Liverpool.

Our city schools get even less per pupil than Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster – £213, £74 and £73 less respectively.

Schools are struggling due to rising costs and demand of supports for students and their family. According to the National Education Union, Sheffield schools will have lost £7.8M by 2020, which is equivalent to £118 lost per pupil.

Check whether your school is on the school cuts list via https://schoolcuts.org.uk/schools/.

The petition by The Star and Sheffield Telegraph can be found on https://www.change.org/p/fair-fund-for-sheffield-schools.

Written by Levenez Lai

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