Sheffield's schools and their pupils

This letter to The Star is from Cyril Olsen, Busk Meadow, Sheffield, S5

By Diana.Stannard1
Monday, 25 March, 2019, 11:20
Pupils from Watercliffe Meadows gather in Sheffields Peace Gardens to protest against government cuts to education budgets

The March 20 Star featured two very different articles about Sheffield’s schools and their pupils which in turn shed light on and dimmed my views on modern education.

I applaud the efforts of Ian Read, headteacher of Watercliffe Meadow Primary School and his education colleagues in “marching” not only to the Sheffield Town Hall, accompanied by their pupils, but to Westminster to lobby MPs and discuss issues that they are facing due to unfair Government funding to Sheffield schools.

Because of this lack of funding Mr Read has had to get rid of staff to save £125,000 over the next two years.

I sincerely hope that Mr Read and his colleagues’ meeting with Minister of State for School Standards, Nick Gibb, comes to fruition and funds are made available to meet Sheffield’s education needs and remove having to make dedicated long serving teachers/auxiliary staff redundant. I hope that they may soon see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Contrast their combined laudable efforts with the second article “Pregnant Roma girls need help returning to school after births.” It is reported that Sheffield City Council is working with schools and other agencies to help Roma girls in Fir Vale and Burngreave to reintegrate back into school after they have given birth.

Councilor Mick Rooney is to be commended for his action in questioning the reference to underage girls having children – at least one being confirmed to date. Who are the fathers of these babies – children or adults?

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While SCC and the respective schools can arguably be commended for their reaction, in my opinion the children’s parents should be held to account.

The Slovaks of Romania are an ethnic minority group of 17199 at the 2002 census, comprising 0.1 per cent of the total population.

A quoted reason for the children’s parents coming to the UK is that they wish to give their children the chance of a better future.

Sex education should begin at home, not just in the school. Who will be looking after and providing for these babies while their mothers are in school and when they eventually leave – the Roma parents and children or the UK Welfare State?

I suggest that local and State monies and resources spent on returning these young mothers back to their schools and providing for their welfare could be put to better use such as removing the need for cuts in funding for Watercliffe Meadow Primary School and their ilk.