Education Column: Everyone should support our schools and funding campaign

Pupils of Hillsborough Primary School work together on their maths work.
Pupils of Hillsborough Primary School work together on their maths work.

As a classroom teacher, it’s easy to become detached from the business side of Sheffield schools.

The policy-making and the budgetary calculations go on behind closed doors in offices that I rarely go in and generally want to avoid.

Money may make the world go round, but it can certainly bring the classroom to a standstill.

Getting involved in that side of things is not the reason I entered teaching; my heart is more in front of a class of inquisitive youngsters, trying my best to inspire.

My focus is, and will always remain, the teaching and learning involved with the children I am lucky to work with every day.

But although I don’t have direct involvement with the fiscal decisions and however much I like to pretend that I am solely concentrating on the children, there’s no denying that the boring, monotonous business side does have an impact on me.

In the end, you see, every decision made in school that affects teachers, children and parents comes down to one thing – money.

I see it in the outdated computer I have to log into every morning that takes an age to get going.

I can see it in my classroom wall displays that used to get updated every few weeks when I had the valuable help of a teaching assistant, but they got made redundant and I now have less help after school when the kids have gone.

I can see it in the vulnerable groups of children who had skilled help from that TA and who are now making less progress because one person just doesn’t meet everybody’s learning needs as well as two can.

And I can see it in my line manager’s face when I’m given a dressing down for photocopying too many sheets for learning that doesn’t involve the key subject areas, English, Maths and Science.

Money may make the world go round, but it can certainly bring the classroom to a standstill.

The amount of wages I have lost in real terms since 2010 makes me shudder and certainly has had a huge impact on my quality of life.

Added to this, I’m actually spending more money on my profession than I used to.

I go to the stationers once a month to personally buy the essential resources I’m missing.

Fifteen rubbers, a box of pencils and some replacement rulers may not add up to much but it eats into my salary and I shouldn’t really have to do it.

If the media discovered nurses were having to buy their own bandages there’d be a national uproar.

Yet many teachers find themselves buying essential supplies on a regular basis.

Even though I want to separate the pressures of money from the joys of teaching, it’s just impossible.

Everything in my job is linked to money.

And that’s why it smarts beyond belief to read how poorly funded Sheffield schools are when compared to other cities.

If every child attending school brought with them the hundreds of pounds we are missing out on, the budgets of this city’s schools would be boosted by tens of thousands of pounds.

This sum of money is not just the difference between having glue sticks or not, although some kids in my class would certainly put that at the top of their priority list.

No, this amount of money can mean smaller teaching groups.

It can mean extra support for those who need it.

It can mean the leaking roof is repaired, the latest resources are purchased and kids start to get something like the access to the ICT facilities they deserve.

It’s not a drop in the ocean, it’s a significant amount of cash that would have an impact on every teacher in every classroom in the city.

That’s why it’s crucial that we must all get behind the on-going Sheffield Newspapers campaign to end this inequality.

Educational campaigns have helped before and everybody who loves our schools should throw their weight behind this one.

Fill your social media accounts with it. Because a Sheffield child deserves the same start in life as one from Manchester and Nottingham.