Sheffield schoolchildren out in force to protest education cuts

Pupils from a Sheffield primary school came out in healthy numbers today to protest cuts to education funding in the city.

Kids of all ages from Watercliffe Meadow Primary School came out to protest about the lack of funding being given to South Yorkshire schools after it was estimated they have missed out on £46.5m of per-pupil funding since 2015.

This protest comes as part of the effort to raise awareness of the petition that has been launched to get the government to give Sheffield its fair share of funding. A letter from the headteachers of all of the city’s schools will also be presented to Education Secretary Damian Hinds on Tuesday.

The protest called on the government to help schools avoid massive job cuts.

The #FairFundSheffieldSchools rally, held in the Peace Gardens, was organised by Ian Read, who is the headteacher of Watercliffe Meadow. He said having to make cuts to staff was hard but he was determined that the whole experience would be a useful learning experience for his students.

He said: “It was an impossible decision. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as a head-teacher.

“In education, you’re always trying to look for things that are real to children. We’ve used this as an opportunity to teach them about how democracy really works and given them a chance to have their say in it.”

Also speaking at the rally was Councillor Jayne Dunn, the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills with Sheffield City Council. She challenged and dubbed the state of funding as “criminal”.

She said: “It’s absolutely criminal.

“The primary schools should have received even less this year under the government guidelines than they did but the secondary schools took even less money so the primary schools basically wouldn’t fall off a cliff.

“The people that can solve this are the government. They can find money for absolutely everything else but they can’t money for the future of our children.”

The petition, which is closing in on its 10,000-signature target, is available at https://www.change.org/p/fair-fund-for-sheffield-schools.