Trade unions back Sheffield school funding fight after education leader warns of '˜appalling continuation' of cuts

Education unions from across Sheffield have joined the fight to get fairer funding for schools across the city.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 18 September, 2018, 08:42
Coun Jayne Dunn is calling on the government to reverse 'appalling funding cuts' to Sheffield's schools

The GMB, NEU, UNISON, NAHT  and NASUWT have joined the fight which calls on the Government to redress the funding situation in Sheffield.

It comes after Minister of State for School Standards, Nick Gibb MP, refused to meet with education leaders in the city to discuss the situation after Sheffield Council's cabinet member for Education and Skills, Jayne Dunn, wrote to him.

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 have warned of mass redundancies, bigger class sizes and short school weeks as they struggle to balance the books.

More than 8,000 people have already backed The Star's petition calling on the government to look into the issue. 

Coun Dunn has warned that any apparent positives from the new formula will be completely negated by the '˜appalling continuation' of cuts to the city's schools. 

A joint statement by the trade unions said: 'The teaching and support staff trade unions join Councillor Jayne Dunn in condemning the unfair funding of Sheffield schools.

'Research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies states that schools have seen a funding cut of eight per cent per pupil since 2010, class sizes continue to rise as a result of the Government's under-funding, with Sheffield schools being amongst the worst funded of all the major cities in England.

'Rising class sizes combined with cuts to support staff are having a devastating effect on teachers, support staff and most importantly the children in our city.

'The joint trade unions therefore support Councillor Dunn in her efforts to ensure that education in Sheffield is fairly and sufficiently funded so children in the city are not disadvantaged.'

In his reply to Coun Dunn, Mr Gibb said insisted the Government is pleased with the '˜significant progress made across the system in moving towards the national funding formula in its first year'. 

'Schools are already benefiting from the gains delivered by the formula, which has allocated an increase in per pupil funding for every school in 2018-19, with up to three per cent increases for underfunded schools,' he said.