New figures from the House of Commons Library show Sheffield Heeley as 526th of 533 constituencies in England for primary school kids at a Good or Outstanding school, while the area also ranks low for jobs paying at or above the Living Wage of £8.75 per hour.
The new figures cover every constituency in England – while one in every three jobs here pays less than the living wage, the figure in the Prime Minister’s Maidenhead constituency is one in eight.
It’s disappointing to see these figures, although it’s certainly to the pupils’ and schools’ credit that their actual attainment is much better. Sheffield’s schools have been underfunded for years, and people from all across Sheffield have come out recently to demand fairer funding.
When those kids leave school, they shouldn’t be forced into a choice between leaving the city or working in a low-wage job. Everyone should have the right to a job that pays a wage they can live on, and it’s no wonder, given Sheffield’s chronic low pay, that home ownership is also low in this area – people simply can’t afford to settle down with their families.
I’m going to keep fighting for proper investment in our young people’s futures, both in our schools and FE colleges, and through investment in our economy to create high-skilled, well-paying jobs. I raised this issue in my Maiden Speech just after I was elected three years ago and I’ll not stop fighting until we see these numbers improve, and with them the life chances of the people I represent.