Calls for action after figures show underperforming secondary schools clustered in two areas of Sheffield

More than a third of the city’s children attend an underperforming secondary school in one of two areas of Sheffield – prompting calls for more to be done to help them.

The latest Ofsted figures show that the schools judged as inadequate or requires improvement are clustered into two areas of Sheffield – the north and south/south east.

The programme will provide free training and support to teachers

The programme will provide free training and support to teachers

Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Sheffield Council, said this is limiting the choices of families in these areas and the life chances of the thousands of youngsters who attend the schools.

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In the north, Forge Valley, Chaucer, Yewlands, Ecclesfield, Stocksbridge and Bradfield have been judged either requires improvement or inadequate following its latest inspection by Ofsted. Around 6,700 pupils attend these schools.

And in the south/south east there are four schools – Westfield, Birley, Outwood Academy City and Sheffield Springs – with around 4,000 pupils attending.

Councillor Jayne Dunn, cabinet member for education and skills

Councillor Jayne Dunn, cabinet member for education and skills

Statistics show that the number of school judged as inadequate in Sheffield is higher than in other cities including Hull, where there is none, and Leeds and Manchester.

Coun Mohammed called on the education chiefs to work with the academy trusts operating the schools and work with them to develop a plan to improve them.

Cabinet member for education and skills, Coun Jayne Dunn, stressed that the authority and Learn Sheffield - a not-for-profit organisation owned by the council and some city’s schools – were doing all they can to support the schools and find solutions to issues.

Coun Mohammed said: “There is around 11,000 children at these schools – that’s a third of our young people.

Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed

Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed

“Our city can’t prosper and our children aren’t getting the opportunity to have the best start in life.

“If you look at the most recent Ofsted reports, what are the likes of Hull doing that Sheffield isn’t?”

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He added: “It is really concerning. We are going to keep looking at why our education system is letting some of our young people down and the communities that they are in.

“There are parents, even from deprived backgrounds, who are cutting back so they can afford to buy a house in the catchment area of a good school.

“That’s just not on and for some people that isn’t possible, therefore what we are going to do is redouble our efforts.”

Coun Dunn said she is working closely with headteachers and Learn Sheffield to improve the situation for youngsters across the city and meets regularly with school leaders at the Sheffield Schools Forum.

“Every child across the city deserves the best education and best chances in life. We have been putting in an awful lot of work and Learn Sheffield has been giving a lot of support to these schools,” she said.

“We cannot get away from the fact that there has been cuts to school funding. This is going to reflect in these sort of issues and after funding cuts results will suffer.

She added: “The Liberal Democrats pushing forward the coalition programme on academisation and our children are now paying for that.

“It took schools not only out of local authority control but also out of the control of the local communities.

“We also can’t force any academy to buy into the support Learn Sheffield delivers and two of them currently don’t.

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“I am asking the chief executive’s of the trusts to meet with me. It’s about holding them to account, but they are businesses and don’t have to.”

“I am looking at how to empower governors and support them to help them hold their schools to account.”

She added that she was also working with colleagues to provide support to the families of school pupils who need it.