'The pressure on schools is evident' - Huge increase in Sheffield's Roma population highlighted in government report

A massive rise in the number of Roma and Eastern European families coming to Sheffield is putting pressure on schools, a report has found.

Page Hall
Page Hall

A report compiled by Dame Louise Casey highlighted a 1650 per cent increase in just five years in the number of children from Roma and Eastern European origin coming to the city.

Figures showed the number of EU nationals’ children in one ward had increased from 150 to 2,500 in five years. The report said: "The impact on schools was evident."

Page Hall

Speaking about the report and some of the findings, Dame Louise said: "In Sheffield I didn't find it difficult to find people really struggling with the vast numbers of people coming in from Eastern Europe and the Roma community. One school has gone from less than five per cent non-UK nationals to 95 per cent non-UK nationals within a few years."

In a review visit to Sheffield, government researchers said they saw the 'issues' faced by the council and the community following a sudden growth in a Roma community in the city.

Government researchers were told more than 6,000 people of Roma or Eastern European heritage, with 53 per cent under the age of 17, live predominantly in the Page Hall area of Sheffield.

One Sheffield head teacher told Government researchers educational attainment gaps against the Sheffield average were 'huge' in the Roma community.

Page Hall

The report stated only 8.9 per cent of Roma children had adequate levels reading and 3.5 per cent had adequate levels of writing at Key Stage 1, compared to 80 per cent for reading and 70 per cent for writing among the general population.

The Casey Review highlighted arising 'community tensions' in Sheffield over alleged practices such as fly tipping and benefit fraud.

Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East, described to the House of Commons in 2014 how many Roma immigrants are themselves 'scammed' on arrival.

He said: “They are given a package: they are offered a deal whereby when they obtain jobs, which are mostly unskilled and low paid, those who give them the jobs take money from their pay packets and use it to pay the rents for the often grossly overcrowded housing they are given. That scam is going on.

The report in general on the pace of immigration and the change in society said segregation and social exclusion had reached 'worrying levels' and is fuelling inequality in some areas of Britain.

Dame Louise - who was brought in by former PM David Cameron to report on social integration amid concerns that hundreds of radicalised young Britons were joining Islamic State - warned that the country is becoming more divided as it becomes more diverse.

It found that while Britain has benefited hugely from immigration and the increased ethnic and religious diversity it had brought, there had not been sufficient emphasis on integration.#

Sheffield Council has been contacted for a comment.