£18m Sheffield school cash surplus is revealed

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.

SHEFFIELD schools have built up a huge cash surplus totalling £18 million - prompting calls for the money to be used to help youth services and educational work in libraries.

Sheffield Council is making £50 million cuts including withdrawing £1 million given each year to community groups providing activities for young people, and is axing funding from Activity Sheffield youth service.

Meanwhile, the library service is being cut by £1.6 million and 14 of 27 community libraries could close unless community groups are willing to run them.

Jean Gleadall, who chairs Wisewood Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “I think the schools should contribute towards youth activities when it is the pupils who will be benefitting out of school hours.”

Grenville Wilkinson, of Walkley Community Forum, which is considering a bid to take over the suburb’s library, added: “Walkley library is used by children from three primary schools and several nurseries.

“It benefits a lot of children and young people in the area and I think that if there is spare money it should be used to help libraries.”

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, opposition Liberal Democrat group leader on Sheffield Council, added: “We’re in favour of extended schools and how about them using some of the money to do work in communities.”

Sheffield Council said it has no power to intervene in how the schools spend savings.

Steve Robinson, headteacher at Birley College and chair of the Sheffield Schools Forum, did not rule out using some of the money to help community services.

He said: “There are 169 schools across the city and they all have their own individually controlled budgets to run.

“The budget each school runs is expected to be spent to benefit the education and care of children under the responsibility of the individual school. They may be earmarked, used to cover inflationary pressures or recruit staff.”

But he added: “It may be that a more joined up approach is needed to make sure opportunities are not missed which might benefit children.”