Class sizes in Sheffield hit by difference in education cash say teachers

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.
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Education in Sheffield is affected by an unfair funding regime which skews resources towards authorities in the south of England, according to top teachers in the city.

The Fair Deal for Sheffield campaign says Sheffield Council has just under £6,000 per pupil to spend on education and support services, while, in the wealthy London borough of Kensington and Chelsea that figure rises to almost £9,000 – a difference of £2,995 per child

However, Lib Dems in Sheffield argue this does not tell the whole story, saying that during this academic year, city schools will receive more than £11.4 million through the Pupil Premium scheme, which diverts extra cash to youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds, compared to £2.9 million for schools in Kensington and Chelsea.

Government critics, meanwhile, claim the Pupil Premium funding is not new money, but is diverted from cash support which previously went directly to councils.

David Bowes, headteacher at top city secondary Tapton, said: “We think there should be a level playing field, and if every youngster received the same level of funding then that would be fair, but it’s never been the case. That children living in Chelsea and Westminster receive a higher sum just doesn’t seem right.”

Mr Bowes said an obvious consequence was regional differences in class sizes.

He said: “Everyone agrees children make greater progress in smaller classes and that is what is offered by public schools.

Toby Mallinson, a teacher with 14 years’ experience in Sheffield schools, said fairer funding needed to be invested in people in the profession.

He said: “You see what could be possible by looking at special schools, which are well resourced and where there is much less pressure.”