Sheffield school leaders warn of 'brutal' staffing cuts if 'appalling' funding goes ahead

Learn Sheffield chief executive Stephen Betts
Learn Sheffield chief executive Stephen Betts

Headteachers and governors have warned of the 'brutal' staffing cuts they will be forced to make if the Government does not make changes to the 'appalling' funding Sheffield schools receive.

School leaders have spoken about the years of improving standards across the city against the backdrop of years of tight financial constraints.

The Star and Sheffield Telegraph editor Nancy Fielder and education reporter Sam Jackson

The Star and Sheffield Telegraph editor Nancy Fielder and education reporter Sam Jackson

But they warned that if changes are not made to the implementation of the Government's new national funding formula, aimed at redistributing funding to historically underfunded areas, then 'brutal staffing cuts' will have to be made.

READ MORE: Sheffield MPs back petition for fairer funding for city schools
The Department for Education said when the NFF is implemented in full in 2020/21 then schools in the area will attract an increase in funding of 6.6 per cent - equivalent to £20.4 million, but education leaders have warned the time taken to phase in the formula is putting schools at financial risk.

School leaders, parents, staff and children from across Sheffield are supporting the petition, including Learn Sheffield, launched by The Star calling for fairer funding.

One headteacher said his school is facing the prospect of 'devastating effects' because its incomes in 2020/21 will be £81,167 less than in 2017/18.

He said: "The only way the school could possibly begin to tackle such a deficit would be through brutal staffing cuts.

"As a minimum our school will have to lose all our teaching assistants.

READ MORE: Sheffield MPs jointly call on education secretary to help avert funding crisis in the city’s schools
"The effects this will have on the educational provision we are able to offer our community do not bear thinking about.

"Like all schools we have a core group of vulnerable children whose needs we will simply not be able to meet."

Figures revealed schools in city will receive £743 per pupil less than Manchester in 2018/19, £589 less than Nottingham and £80 per pupil less than Leeds

The headteacher added: "This deficit compared with other core cities has been in place for many years, and, we are sure, largely accounts for the historic deficits in incomes for Sheffield schools.

"We are not asking for money to be taken from other core cities, but that Sheffield should be equalised up to their funding levels."

The governing body of another primary school warned that the cuts will have a negative impact for years.

READ MORE: Recruitment agency backs fair funding campaign for Sheffield schools
A parent governor, who did not wish to be named said: "We are appalled at the proposed changes in funding from central government, compound by gross underinvestment in education at the local level, and extremely concerned about the potential impact on the quality of education that the school will be able to offer in the coming years.

"Our children deserve the same investment as those in comparable major cities, some only a few miles away, and denying them resources and opportunities will only have a negative impact in years to come."

To sign the petition click here.