School leaders back call for fairer funding for Sheffield schools ahead of Parliament visit

Over a dozen headteachers and school leaders will head to Parliament later this month to lobby MP's and call for fairer funding for Sheffield schools.

By Alana Roberts
Wednesday, 13 March, 2019, 07:44

The action comes after Ian Read, headteacher of Watercliffe Meadow Primary School wrote a letter to Education Secretary Damian Hinds MP calling on him to help avert the education ‘crisis’ 

The head revealed he has been forced to make staff redundancies in order to save £125,000 over the next two years.   

Staff at Bradway Primary School supporting the Fair Fund Sheffield Schools campaign

Mr Read asked his fellow headteachers to show their support for the cause by joining him on a visit to Parliament on March 19, where they will be joined by Sheffield MP’s and senior council leaders.

So far, 13 headteachers and school leaders from across the city have backed the call asking for a ‘significant shift’ in how education is valued and supported by the government, not only in Sheffield but across the country.

It is hoped the visit will raise awareness of the issues currently faced by schools across the city, with other schools being asked to write letters and statements detailing their concerns.

Pupils at Dobcroft Infant School backing the fair fund Sheffield schools campaign

The letters, which will be collected before the descent on Parliament, will then be delivered to Downing Street with the help of Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield.

A stock letter has also been produced for parents – in which they can support by offering their signature – to call on the Government to ‘save our schools’.

The letter states: “I want my child to grow up in an education system that values all children, not just those who are good at academic subjects like English and maths.

Staff at All Saints Roman Catholic High School show their support the Fair Fund Sheffield Schools campaign

“I want my child to enjoy their education and I want schools to make my child’s well-being an important priority.

“I want my child to gain the skills and confidence to be successful in life and to become a good citizen who can make a positive contribution to society.

“Unless you invest in education now and make these things important for schools to deliver then all you are doing is making a huge problem and cost for the next generation, MY child’s generation. This can’t wait until my child grows older. It needs decisive action NOW.”

Mr Read wrote the open letter to Damian Hinds MP detailing the situation at Watercliffe Meadow which by Easter will be losing or will have lost one teacher, four teaching assistants, one learning mentor and one caretaker – 10 per cent of its full time equivalent workforce. 

In order for a change in the circumstances, he said two things needed to happen – a substantial investment of at least £3 billion in education, and for the Department for Education to work with school bodies and Ofsted to devise an accountability framework that incentivises inclusion, pupil well-being and values the development of a wide range of skills and qualities that will provide opportunities for all pupils.

He will head to Sheffield city centre on March 18, the day before the Parliament visit, joined by pupils from Watercliffe Meadow in a bid to raise awareness of the issues faced by schools.

Last year The Star and Sheffield Telegraph launched a launched a petition calling on the Government to fair fund Sheffield schools.

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Those who will be attending Parliament so far:

Paul Stockley – Headteacher of Bradway Primary School

Cathy Rowland – Headteacher of Dobcroft Infant School

Sacha Schofield – Headteacher of Bents Green School

David Dennis – CEO and Director of Secondaries of Tapton Trust

Will Smith – Headteacher of Mundella Primary School

Chris French – CEO of Mercia Learning Trust

Sean Pender – Headteacher of All Saints Catholic High School

Pamela Smith – Headteacher of Grenoside Primary School

Jane Townsend – Headteacher of Stocksbridge Nursery Infant School

Jim Dugmore – Headteacher of Oughtibridge Primary School

Ian Read – Headteacher of Watercliffe Meadow Primary School

Nick Crew – Executive Principal  of UTC Sheffield

Deb Halliday – Headteacher of Athlestan Primary School