Sheffield unites to launch petition for fairer funding for city schools

#FairFundFheffieldSchools campaign launched by Star editor Nancy Fielder and education reporter Sam Jackson
#FairFundFheffieldSchools campaign launched by Star editor Nancy Fielder and education reporter Sam Jackson

Sheffield has today united and launched a petition demanding for fair funding for our schools.

Sheffield schools are the worst funded out of all the major cities in England and headteachers have warned of mass redundancies and cutting the school week because of cuts being made to budgets.

Councillor Jayne Dunn, cabinet member for education and skills at Sheffield Council

Councillor Jayne Dunn, cabinet member for education and skills at Sheffield Council

The Star and Sheffield Telegraph are working with Sheffield Council, Learn Sheffield, the city’s six MPs, businesses, schools, community groups and individuals to fight for fair funding - and are calling on residents across the city to join the fight.

Figures emerged last month that 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 - and under the Government's new national funding formula the area does not get 'a fair deal'.

An average sized primary school in Sheffield would receive £260,000 more, a secondary schools £822,000 more if its pupils were funded at the same rate as Manchester.

Councillor Jayne Dunn, cabinet member for education and skills at Sheffield Council, recently wrote to Secretary of State for education, Damian Hinds MP, demanding better funding for Sheffield schools.

She is now bringing a motion to a full council meeting on Wednesday to continue to put pressure on the Government and urged people to sign the petition.

She said: "It is simply outrageous that the government are currently pressing ahead with continued cuts to education.

"Their new funding formula is supposed to address historical imbalances, but without the proper funding it just leaves the budgets of Sheffield schools once again slashed."

She added: "We are working closely with representatives, parents, teachers and unions from across the city and together a united and strong opposition to the changes has emerged.

“I’m proud of Sheffield’s education community and the collaborative way we are challenging government, especially considering how government seem determined to encourage division and set schools against each other. Well, in Sheffield we are fighting back."

Coun Dunn said she was working to find a solution to the problem, which could be shown to the government and ensure the our next generation gets the education they are entitled to.

"The new funding formula is meant to bring stability to funding but the way it is put together there is absolutely no fairness for Sheffield," she said.

"The formula should make sure every school is equally funded whether in Southey or Totley and Dore - every child is entitled to that."

Coun Dunn added: "Everyone has a relative or friend in education, so let's fights for our next generation."

The petition will go to Prime Minister Theresa May and the education secretary and people are being urged to use whatever medium they can to sign it.

The Star and Sheffield Telegraph editor Nancy Fielder said: " No school in Sheffield will escape the impact of this terribly unfair funding, which is why headteachers are also fighting for the city as one.

"We are working with Sheffield City Council, Learn Sheffield, the city’s six MPs, businesses, schools, community groups and individuals on this but we need more help.

"Use whatever medium and influences you have to make everyone realise how unjust the funding is, then join us in tackling it.

"The more names we get on the petition, the more powerful we are and the louder our voice will be heard."

The DfE said the purpose of the new funding formula is to correct historic disparities in the funding system, which involves redistributing funding to historically underfunded areas.

A spokesman said that schools in the area 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 click here.

Alternatively email news@thestar.co.uk or write Sam Jackson, The Star, The Balance, Pinfold Street, S1 2GU