Calls for fairer school funding in Sheffield

Ecclesall Infant School, High Storrs, Road. Picture: Andrew Roe
Ecclesall Infant School, High Storrs, Road. Picture: Andrew Roe
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Headteachers from schools in south west Sheffield are working with education chiefs to bridge a funding gap – which means thousands of pounds less is spent on their pupils.

They claim the way schools are funded per pupil has resulted in some schools in other areas having hundreds of thousands of pounds more in their budget this year.

Under Government rules for 2015/16, children from the most deprived backgrounds receive more funding than others, resulting in schools in some areas of the city – with similar numbers of children – missing out on a large amount of money.

Dobcroft Junior School, Millhouses, receives £3,391 per pupil, but children at other schools elsewhere in Sheffield receive £4,454, £5,820 and £6,372, depending on their age.

The funding gap has left some schools facing financial difficulties and resulted in them having limited learning and IT resources and stretched human resources.

Headteachers at Dobcroft Infant, Dobcroft Junior, Dore Primary, Ecclesall Infants, Ecclesall C of E Junior, Greystones Primary, Lydgate Infant, Lydgate Junior, Nether Green Infant School, Nether Green Junior and Totley C of E Primary have now teamed up to try to address the issue.

In a joint letter to parents, they said: “The headteachers feel that parents should be aware of the financial difficulties faced by your children’s schools.

“We also believe that you should be aware of the gap in funding between the schools listed here and a number of other schools in Sheffield.”

Headteachers are now working with Sheffield Council and the Schools’ Forum – the body that decides how schools within the city are funded – to try to adopt a more balanced approach to allocating funds.

Jayne Ludlam, Sheffield Council executive director of children, young people and families, said the authority understands the ‘frustration’ felt by headteachers.

She said: “We are already in discussion with all schools across the city about funding arrangements.

“We already understand the frustration shared by some schools and we are working to address that through the forums in place to deal with funding and a number of positive meetings have already been held to this end.”

A spokeswoman for the schools said: “We are happy with the process that is being followed and wish to work with the local authority and all schools in Sheffield.”