Department for Education

Part of Estimates Day – in the House of Commons at 3:11 pm on 3rd July 2018.

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Photo of Gill Furniss Gill Furniss Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Steel, Postal Affairs and Consumer Protection) 3:11 pm, 3rd July 2018

I said that there would be differences. The nub of the matter is the differences between northern areas where there is an educational divide: resources should be given to make up those differences. They should not be taken away from us, as we are now seeing.

Some of our headteachers are even warning of mass redundancies as a last resort to balance their budgets by 2020. This is not a war-torn country in 1945: this is Sheffield in 2018, and it is simply not fair. The Government’s national funding formula is not working. The Department for Education claimed it would redistribute funding from local authority control, focusing on historically deprived and isolated areas. But schools in pockets of some of the greatest deprivation, which have fought against the odds to improve their funding situation, are suffering the most. Now, after a continual uphill struggle to secure sufficient funding, Sheffield school budgets are being decimated once more.

Some schools in Brightside and Hillsborough are being pushed to the limit. One is predicted to lose a staggering £190,000 by 2020, meaning a reduction in teachers, teaching assistants and other crucial resources. At a time when the Sheffield school-age population has increased by 7% across the decade, which has also led to a greater demand for specialist services and special educational needs, the Government ought to be putting more much-needed resources into the system. They have consistently failed to do so. Instead, they are pumping money into grammar schools—so much for helping the “just about managing”. We need an alternative.