City leaders have echoed calls for ‘urgent action’ from the Government to address a lack of funding in Sheffield schools.
On Wednesday The Star reported Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield’s claims that schools in deprived Northern areas were being ‘starved’ of cash at the expense of affluent areas like London.
Mr Blomfied addressed Parliament on the issue this week after Yorkshire and the Humber was ranked as the worst area nationally for pupils getting five good GCSEs.
In the wake of the coverage, Sheffield Council has said education funding in the city ‘falls far below’ other areas and have echoed calls for more cash.
But the authority insists there has been ‘clear improvements in attainment’ from pupils in the city – despite the funding shortfall.
Jayne Ludlam, executive director of children, young people and families at the council, said: “We support the call for more funding for schools in Sheffield.
“Inequalities in the system mean our funding settlement falls far below that of similar local authorities and we have called for Government to take urgent action on this as part of its wider consultation on school funding.
“Our children’s education is a priority and we work very closely with others to improve standards. We have already implemented a number of changes resulting in clear improvements in attainment.”
Mr Blomfield said that in Yorkshire and the Humber 63 per cent of children were getting five good GCSEs – in any subject – compared to 70 per cent in London.
He said this demonstrated an education ‘postcode lottery’ where academic success depended on the area a child lived.
But the council said that Sheffield was in fact performing better than the county as a whole, based on pupils achieving five or more A*-C grades, including English and Maths.
The council said pupils achieving this in Sheffield increased by five percentage points to 54 per cent in Sheffield in 2015. Nationally, there was a four percentage point rise to 57 per cent.
Ms Ludlam said: “Although we have seen a steady improvement we are not complacent and will continue to work closely with schools and Learn Sheffield in the future.”
Mr Blomfield told Parliament: “People with more money are buying advantage by purchasing houses nearer the best schools, meaning that the gap, even within Yorkshire, is widening. We must act because it is simply not acceptable that, by virtue of growing up in Sheffield and not London, a child is less likely to do well at school.”