Sheffield schools feel the strain as demand grows for pupil places

Oughtibridge Primary. Head teacher  Pat Munt
Oughtibridge Primary. Head teacher Pat Munt
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Schools in Sheffield are being put under ‘huge strain’ by an increasing demand for pupil places, it has been claimed.

Sheffield is among a number of cities feeling the squeeze the Local Government Association has claimed, adding there could soon be a ‘tipping point’ where no money or space is left to expand the country’s schools any further.

Pat Munt, Oughtibridge Primary School headteacher, said her staff are working ‘flat out’ to meet the demands put on them by growing numbers of children in their classrooms.

In the 10 years she has been at the school – rated ‘outstanding’ in its last Ofsted inspection – she has seen the number of pupils on roll rise from 282 to 370.

This will increase again in September as the school has been told it must take an additional 15 children per year.

She said: “For the same amount of space, it’s a lot more pupils.

“In Oughtibridge there have been housing developments and a lot of people are choosing to move to Oughtibridge because it’s a nice, rural part of the city. It puts a huge strain on teachers. We are working flat out.”

Meanwhile, Dobcroft Infant School in Millhouses is facing plans to increase its numbers by an additional 30 children.

The proposals were met with concern by parents, who fear their children’s education could suffer.

Jason Rockett, Dobcroft chairman of governors, said: “We have requested, and Sheffield Council has agreed, to give more detail in order to ensure we have all the information to enter fully into this process.

“Whatever the final decision, we wish to reassure parents, we will put the children’s best interests first to ensure we maintain a quality educational experience.”

Jayne Ludlam, council executive director for children, young people and families, said: “We are continuing to bring forward proposals to increase places where required and the latest consultation is about extra places at the Dobcroft schools.”