Election 2017: Sheffield Central candidates debate at education hustings

Natalie Bennett (Green) Shaffaq Mohammed (Lib Dem) Louise Regan (NUT) and Paul Blomfield (Labour)
Natalie Bennett (Green) Shaffaq Mohammed (Lib Dem) Louise Regan (NUT) and Paul Blomfield (Labour)
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Parliamentary candidates vowing for your vote faced the public to answer questions on the state of education in Sheffield.

Labour’s Paul Blomfield, Liberal Democrat candidate Shaffaq Mohammed and former Green leader Natalie Bennett are currently vying to be elected as the member of Parliament for the Sheffield Central constituency come the election results on June 9.

Dozens turned out to grill the candidates at an event hosted by the Sheffield branch of the National Union of Teachers last night at St Mary’s Church on Bramall Lane.

A Conservative party candidate was approached to attend the meeting but ‘didn’t reply to the invite’.

The meeting heard from union officials that Sheffield Central, which includes areas such as Walkley, Broomhill, Sharrow Nether Edge and the city centre, has seen a £3.7m cut to funding.

Paul Blomfield who is defending the seat said bringing back grants for students was ‘going back to basics’. “The Tories not only here, are consistently refusing letting their local candidates to put their head above the paraphet.

“I know there are 103 teaching jobs are at risk in the constituency and a wide ranging scale of cuts from £300 to £900 per pupil that we are facing.

“I’ve also written asking to work with them to combat those cuts as we go forward.

"Votes for 16 year-olds, voter registration in our schools will be a powerful way to engage young people."

Natalie Bennett, who is standing for the Greens said she wanted to scrap the National Ciriculum and Ofsted and PFI contracts which have been used to build and refurnish city schools.

“I’m going to do something unconventional, I’m going to applaud lots of things in the Labour manifesto. I think it’s great they’re saying scrap tuition fees.
“I think it’s great all these things were in the Green Party manifesto in 2015.

“We think our schools should not be exam factories in which pupils are shoved through exam after exam.

Bennett: "We need to get away from Westminster telling kids in Sheffield what they need to know."

Liberal Democrat candidate Shaffaq Mohammed said: “I understand some of the pressures the teaching profession face because of me being a parent and through relatives.

“My nephew is a secondary school teacher, my sister-in-law is a teaching assistant and I see at first hand some of the issues that they bring home and they’re overworked, stressed out with some of the challenges with the budgets they face.”