Sheffield schools at 'tipping point', Prime Minister is told

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A Sheffield MP has warned Theresa May that schools in the city are at a 'tipping point' due to a lack of funding.

Paul Blomfield raised the plight of local schools, where staff have warned of a funding crisis, during Prime Minister's Questions at the House of Commons yesterday.

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield

"Last week, the education secretary told the house he understood the cost pressures facing schools and would work with them to bear down on those costs," said the Sheffield Central MP.

On Friday, I met a group of Sheffield primary and secondary headteachers who said that their schools were at a tipping point.

READ MORE: Sheffield schools are among the worst-funded in England
"They said that if the Government wanted to help them bear down on costs, it could start by fully funding the teachers' pay increase, and the increase in national insurance and pension contributions. Will the Prime Minister do that?"

Mrs May responded by saying the new national funding formula meant a cash increase for every school in every region but that it was important the Department for Education was helping to 'bear down' on costs schools were experiencing.

"That is exactly what my right honourable friend the secretary of state for education is doing - ensuring that the department is giving support to schools where it is needed," she added.

READ MORE: Sheffield headteacher considers cutting school week to four-and-a-half days
The Star is campaigning to secure fairer funding for Sheffield's schools after it emerged they are the worst-funded out of all the major cities in England - a situation the new formula, designed to correct historic funding disparities, does little to remedy.

Headteachers in the city have warned of mass redundancies, with one raising the prospect of a four-and-a-half day week to cut costs.

The Government has said schools in the area will get a funding increase of 6.6 per cent - equivalent to £20.4 million - when the new formula is implemented in full by 2020/21.

READ MORE: Sheffield MPs back campaign to fight for fairer funding for cash-strapped schools
Mr Blomfield, who has previously raised the plight of Sheffield's schools with education secretary Damian Hinds, has joined other MPs in the city in backing The Star's campaign.

Speaking following the debate, Mr Blomfield said: "The unfair funding for Sheffield schools needs to be addressed, but it's part of a bigger problem. The Prime Minister has to face up to her responsibilities. The crisis in our schools is a result of her political choices.

"Our children are paying the price of Conservative tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations. We need to provide the resources that schools need to give our children the start in life that they deserve."