Union chief calls for teachers to unite in fight for better funding for Sheffield schools

Toby Mallinson, National Union of Teachers joint divisional secretary for Sheffield
Toby Mallinson, National Union of Teachers joint divisional secretary for Sheffield
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Teachers and school leaders must campaign and make their voices heard if education is to improve in Sheffield, a union chief has said.

Toby Mallinson, joint divisional secretary for the Sheffield National Union of Teachers, said education in the city is at 'crisis point' and more funding in needed from Government.

He called on headteachers and teachers to lobby the Government for more investment into frontline staff and teacher training.

The Department for Education is introducing a new National Funding Formula from 2018 to 2019 to try and and close the gap between different geographical areas, and said Sheffield schools will be £20.4million better off.

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But Mr Mallinson said the situation it at 'crisis point' and there needs to be much more investment in frontline staff.

He said: "Parents don't campaign, teachers don't campaign enough and headteachers certainly don't.

"The industry has a history of just laying back.

"It needs to be about getting a message across. We are angry and we have got to channel that anger and have a united voice."

He added: "The important people are the frontline staff - that's where the investment needs to be.

"Money must be maximised in the classroom to invest in frontline staff and buildings so that so that teaching improves to as high a quality as possible and the staff have access to the best training.

"We need to make sure the ratios of adults to kids is as good as possible and improving their training and time that teachers have to develop their lessons."

Mr Mallinson said the city's diverse demographic has meant that in the past achievements have seemed better than they were in terms of ability and results - because one half of the city was achieving results in line with some of the richest areas in the country, while the other half were similar to some of the most disadvantaged.

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He added that the city, like elsewhere in the country, is struggling to retain teachers with many newly qualified leaving after just a few years while experienced staff are quitting due to stress and increased workloads.

"A huge number of teachers don't finish their courses. Many leave after their first year and half of teachers leave within five years," Mr Mallinson said.

"The average age of a teacher has dropped markedly because a lot of the older staff haven't been able to cope with the pressures.

"The industry has lost a lot of experience and staff are just used as temporary fodder."

Mr Mallinson said to try and raise educations standards in the more deprived areas of the city, more must be done to encourage children to remain in their community once they have finished school.

He felt that schools need to 'broaden the horizons' of students and make them feel 'there is more to life' so they begin to believe in the value of education.

"If we had a really good education system in these disadvantaged area of Sheffield and kept at it more 20 years or so these kids would grow up, stay in the area, become parents and this would be the generation that really takes off. The areas would then become more affluent," he added.

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A DfE spokesman said under the new funding formula, funding is based on the 'needs and characteristics' of each individual school.

"We are investing an additional £1.3 billion in school funding, over and above existing plans, with core schools funding rising from almost £41 billion in 2017-18 to £43.5 billion in 2019-20," he said.

“Schools in Sheffield would attract an increase in funding of 6.6 per cent on average if the national funding formula were implemented in full, subject to changes in pupils.