Letter: Education cuts wrong

Mayor Dan Jarvis has cut funding to the WEAMayor Dan Jarvis has cut funding to the WEA
Mayor Dan Jarvis has cut funding to the WEA
This letter sent to the Star was written by Brian Holmshaw, Green Party councillor, Broomhill and Sharrow Vale ward

As a local councillor in Sheffield, I condemn Mayor Dan Jarvis and South Yorkshire Combined Authority for cutting the funding of an adult education group that helps vulnerable adults into training and work. The decision to cut the Workers Educational Association’s funding (WEA) was made without any consultation.

For over 100 years, the WEA has provided high quality adult education for people of all walks of life in Sheffield and South Yorkshire, supporting around 5000 students each year. In recent times it has provided education into training and employment for marginalised people, including victims of domestic violence and refugees.

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Up to 100 staff, including teachers, administrators and managers at the regional WEA base at Attercliffe Common, will lose their jobs, including myself as a local history tutor.

The Labour-run regional authority claims it cannot support the WEA because it is a national charity, but the Mayor’s office is funding other national educational organisations. Meanwhile, Tracey Brabin, the West Yorkshire Mayor, is funding her local WEA. If other city regions can put their support and funding into the community, why can’t ours?

I believe education should be at the heart of communities and designed by, and for, those communities. People improve their situations and gain life chances in many different ways, and this cut simply counts many people out. Our democratically elected representative at the South Yorkshire Combined Authority should be sounding out local people on decision making, not making cuts behind closed doors.

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