Lib Dem education spokesman finds Sheffield schools ‘at crisis point’ during visit

The Liberal Democrat’s education spokesman has visited headteachers in Sheffield to discuss the school funding crisis.

Layla Moran MP held a roundtable with headteachers at Dobcroft Infant School, in Millhouses, to discuss the issues they are facing.

Laura Gordon and Layla Moran at Dobcroft Infant School

Laura Gordon and Layla Moran at Dobcroft Infant School

The Government’s new national funding formula - aimed at redistributing funding to historically underfunded areas - helps the situation and will lead to an overall increase in funding for Sheffield.

But the way in which it is being implemented means Sheffield schools do not get a fair deal quickly enough and headteachers are struggling to balance the books.

Headteachers have warned off mass redundancies, increase class sizes and cut the school week because of budget pressures.

READ MORE: Sheffield unites to launch petition for fairer funding for city schools

Headteacher Cathy Rowland with Layla Moran and Laura Gordon

Headteacher Cathy Rowland with Layla Moran and Laura Gordon

The Star launched a petition calling on the Government to redress the issue, bringing together Sheffield Council, Learn Sheffield, city MPs, businesses, schools and community groups to fight for fair funding.

Liberal Democrat parliamentary campaigner for Sheffield Hallam Laura Gordon met headteachers to listen to concerns and gave feedback to Ms Moran, who decided to visit the city for herself.

During her visit Cathy Rowland, headteacher of Dobcroft Infant’s showed the pair around the school and pointed out some building in a bad state of repair, including a temporary building will a hole in the wall which the budget does not stretch to fixing this year.

Ms Moran said: “It’s clear that Sheffield’s schools are at crisis point.

“I visit schools all over the country and I see many of the same challenges everywhere.

“Teachers do a great job but they’re under a huge amount of pressure due to over-testing and underfunding.”

READ MORE: MP attacks Government teacher pay plans amid school funding crisis in Sheffield

Mrs Gordon said the way schools are being funded needs ‘urgently addressing.’

“The one thing that came across from talking to headteachers is their love and passion for the job,” she said 

“They and their staff want what’s best for Sheffield’s schools but they’re not being given the tools and resources they need from the Government.

“All the headteachers I spoke to raised concerns about over-testing, workload, provision for children with special educational needs and of course school funding.

“The lack of funding has become so dire that one of the buildings at Dobcroft Infants has a hole in the wall.

“But the Government have decided to give more money to fix potholes than our schools. That is shameful.

“The way schools are funded urgently needs addressing. It’s shocking that a child in Manchester receives more money for their education than a child in Sheffield.

“I’m calling on the Government to increase funding and implement the new funding formula in full immediately to allow Sheffield’s schools to catch up.”

READ MORE: Businessman backs Sheffield school funding campaign

The Department for Education said that schools in the city will attract an increase in funding of 6.6 per cent - equivalent to £20.4 million - when the NFF is implemented in full by 2020/21.

To sign the petition visit the online fundraising campaign page.