Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Education Layla Moran MP and Liberal Democrat Parliamentary campaigner for Sheffield Hallam Laura Gordon visited Dobcroft Infant School and conducted a roundtable discussion with local headteachers to discuss school funding, workload, over-testing and provision for children with special educational needs.
Sheffield’s per pupil spending is projected to be cut in real terms by 2020 while class sizes are rising. There has even been reports of local schools having to cut their school week down to 4 ½ days and one school has even had to ask for parents to provide toilet paper.
During the visit Cathy Rowland, the headteacher of Dobcroft Infant School, showed Layla and Laura around the school, including some buildings in a very bad state of repair. One of the ‘mobile’ buildings even had a hole in the wall. Dobcroft school only have £7,320 for repairs and it didn’t stretch to fixing the hole this year.
Laura Gordon said:
“The one thing that came across from talking to headteachers is their love and passion for the job. They and their staff want what’s best for Sheffield’s schools but they’re not being given the tools and resources they need from the Government.
“All the headteachers I spoke to raised concerns about over-testing, workload, provision for children with special educational needs and of course school funding. The lack of funding has become so dire that one of the buildings at Dobcroft Infants has a hole in the wall. But the Government have decided to give more money to fix potholes than our schools. That is shameful!
“The way schools are funded urgently needs addressing. It’s shocking that a child in Manchester receives more money for their education than a child in Sheffield. I’m calling on the Government to increase funding and implement the new funding formula in full immediately to allow Sheffield’s schools to catch up.”
Layla Moran MP said:
“It’s clear that Sheffield’s schools are at crisis point. I visit schools all over the country and I see many of the same challenges everywhere.
“Teachers do a great job but they’re under a huge amount of pressure due to over-testing and underfunding. That’s why Liberal Democrats are campaigning for a radical reform of our education system. We want to abolish SATs and replace OFSTED with inspections that also look at teacher and pupil wellbeing."