Welcome to UNISON, our Trade Union. We support and protect almost 1.3 million working people and offer a huge range of benefits to our members. We represent over 8,000 members in the City of Sheffield and those employees engaged in delivering public services allied to the Council, in addition we have members in Further Education Colleges and the Community and Voluntary Sector within Sheffield.



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Get help with school uniform costs - deadline 21 July 2017 (23/05/17)

School uniform grant 2017

School Uniform Grant - Application form pdf
School Uniform Grant - Questions & Answers pdf

If you have any problem with filling in the form please don't hesitate to get in touch with the branch


Council calls on government to halt “divisive” funding formula for schools (25/04/17)

In response to the unprecedented level of cuts to school budgets, UNISON has joined the Stop Education Cuts in Sheffield (SECS) campaign.

The first meeting took place on 27/03/17. A number of Sheffield City Councillors attended, including Jackie Drayton Cabinet Member for CYPF. Amongst other things, the group called on the council to publically campaign against real terms cuts to school budgets. They responded swiftly with the press release below.

If you wish to join the new SECS campaign or the existing School Support Staff Working Party, please contact Lisa Smith:- l.smith@sheffunison.org.uk

School Funding campaign

Council calls on government to halt “divisive” funding formula for schools

Sheffield’s Labour councillors are seeking to get the council's full backing on Wednesday, for their motion demanding that the government stop and think again regarding their funding policies for schools.

The government is imposing real term cuts on schools by freezing per-pupil funding at the same time that inflation and school costs increase, and this will affect all schools and academies alike. For the first time in nearly twenty years, the schools budget will not be either protected in real terms and instead funding is only protected in cash terms.
The government is seeking to phase out the Education Services Grant and instead propose a funding formula to readdress imbalances and unfairness in current funding. However, the new proposals have been deemed “divisive” and “completely inadequate” as a means of providing needed funds for schools.

Labour are calling on all schools, parents and carers across Sheffield to write to the Government and local MPs about the cuts to funding, which could risk the viability of some schools. Labour, Unison, NUT and the Headteachers Unions are united in opposing the new formula and demanding the Government adopt a fair approach to funding education. Even amongst schools who are set to gain initially, they will suffer disproportionately from the government’s overall cuts

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families, said: The government’s funding formula is divisive, unfair and pits schools against schools, local authorities against each other, and primaries against secondary schools.

“I am proud to be working alongside the Trade Unions, teachers, support staff, governors, parents and carers to get more funding for Sheffield schools”.

“I call on all from across the city who care about education to write to the government urging them to reconsider their school funding plans.

“The proposed new funding formula will simply redistribute a sum of money that is inadequate to support schools. Shockingly by 2019 Sheffield schools will see an average pupil funding decrease of around 10% - approximately £350 per pupil.

Councillor Craig Gamble-Pugh, who proposed the motion for council, said:
“It is outrageous that schools across our city will be worse off. Schools are already struggling to manage budget deficits and there are shortages of teachers and a widening attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their better-off peers.

“We need new extra funding for our existing schools, and the government needed to do this with their recent budget. They rejected our calls but unforgivably found an extra £500 million for grammar and free schools instead, which we totally oppose.

“The Conservatives’ divisive policies are forcing schools to scramble for funding. Every child deserves the best possible start in life and we are calling for support for the More Funding for all Sheffield Schools’ Campaign.

“We are fighting for funding to be found for schools, not from the proposed redistribution of cash between local authorities or from taking money from primary schools to give to secondary schools, but for new money which is badly needed”.


Forthcoming UNISON Conferences (07/04/17)

Saturday 28th – Monday 30th October 2017
Manchester Central Convention Centre

Friday 17th – Sunday 19th November 2017
Brighton Centre

To request a nomination form or for further information contact:
Lisa Brownell (Branch Administrator)
UNISON Branch Office
Arundel Gate Court
175 Arundel Gate
S1 2LQ

Tel:   0114 2736307
email:        lgbranch@sheffunison.org.uk

Closing date for nominations: 12noon, Friday 30th June 2017


Foster for Sheffield (06/04/17)

Foster for Sheffield

Foster carers make a real difference to the lives of children and young people who come into their care. UNISON is therefore pleased to support Sheffield City Council in their aim to recruit new fosters carers. Please see attached an appeal for new foster carers from long standing foster carer Betty Gray pdf

Your sincerely
Lisa Smith


Education Convenors Report to AGM – 2017 (06/04/17)

Education Convenors Report to AGM – 2017


Schools remain one of the few areas where employees are made compulsory redundant. UNISON recently renegotiated the Model School Staffing and Redundancy Policy to include an offer of enhanced redundancy payment. This wasn’t previously included in the schools policy and is a hard fought for and welcome addition.

UNISON will continue to put pressure on all school employers, regardless of status to adopt model authority policies and adhere to them in their entirety.

Even without cuts to staff numbers, the management expectation that support staff routinely work above and beyond their job description is something UNISON continues to challenge on a daily basis.

School support staff very often work in low paid, low status jobs that do not reflect the high level of expectation, professionalism and responsibility required to fulfil the role.

Real terms cuts of £3 billion in schools funding 2018/19:-

Following the publication of the government’s final proposal for its National Funding Formula (NFF), the figures are worse than predicted.

Despite Schools Minister Nick Gibb reassuring tory MPs that schools would not lose money, figures suggest 98% of schools face a real terms reduction in funding for every pupil.

Sheffield UNISON branch is already dealing with an unprecedented number of MERs in schools with support staff disproportionately bearing the brunt of budget cuts.
Nationally UNISON is working with TU colleagues in other support staff and teaching unions to say fair funding must also mean sufficient funding.

Locally education convenors continue to put pressure on organisations such as Learn Sheffield and the Schools Forum to use their influence to discourage schools from making short term - and for the most part small monetary savings, by downgrading or making redundant school support staff.

School Support Staff Campaign:-

Redundancy, downgrading and a complete disregard for the professional roles school staff undertake prompted UNISON members to set up the Schools Working Party (WP). Since then the WP has engaged in a public campaign to defend and promote the contribution school support staff make in providing high quality education.

The public have been extremely supportive of the campaign aims i.e. to call upon elected representatives and influential groups in the authority to not only challenge the practice of downgrading support staff, but to actively encourage the retention of experienced staff.
This year the WP aims to target Special Schools. UNISON members who provide high levels of personal, emotional, social and academic support to our most vulnerable pupils are raising concern that, teaching assistants in particular, are being employed at the lowest possible level with no prospect of career progression.

The city’s most vulnerable pupils deserve the highest level of expertise and support. This will not be achieved by employing staff at the lowest possible rate of pay, with no plan or intention to progress beyond that low rate, low status role.


It is vital members in trusts and academies continue to receive UNISON support. Members can be reassured that whatever the status of their school, they will continue to receive strong and effective representation.

Last summer the government was forced into an embarrassing “U” turn on their plan to force all schools to become academies. They do however remain ideologically committed to academisation, despite there being no supporting evidence that academies improve standards of education.

The governments Grammar School plan generated a similar backlash. UNISON condemns the creation of selective schools in the strongest possible terms and will support our members to oppose this move when and wherever necessary.

National School Sector Committee:-

Lisa Smith has recently been appointed to UNISON’s National School Sector Committee.
The committee meets 4 times per year and offers local delegates the opportunity to meet with national officers to discuss key areas of concerns affecting school support staff across the whole of the UK

Newsletters/Communication with members:-

Communication is crucial to ensuring members and their representatives work effectively together. School staff in particular can feel isolated from the branch and each other due to the amount of schools and their diverse locations.

For that reason UNISON ensures school specific newsletters are sent to members in schools at least once every term (3 -4 per academic year). This is a bulk mailing sent directly to school addresses.

Where necessary, members are written to individually. Newsletters are also available to read on the Sheffield UNISON website as is information relating to campaigns and events.

School Stewards:-

We have recently recruited several new school stewards. Unfortunately we are still a long way from achieving our goal to have “A Steward in Every School”. To try and encourage school staff, every newsletter or bulk mailing sent to schools contains information about becoming a steward.

School Steward’s meetings are held in branch once per half term, as well as the usual access to training opportunities.

Jane Knight
Rod Padley
Lisa Smith


Schools newsletter: Spring 2017 (23/03/17)
Forced Academies (26/04/16)

The government has announced plans to force all schools in England to become academies by 2022, meaning large numbers of schools that want to stay linked to their local authority, community or diocese would be forced to become part of an academy trust.
UNISON is opposed to forced academies and will support campaigns to defend schools that don’t want to change.

What could this mean for you?

  • Your employment would transfer from your current employer, in most cases Sheffield City Council to an academy trust
  • The academy trust has the freedom to break away from local and national agreements that set your pay, terms and conditions
  • The academy trust has the option to bring in new staff on worse pay and conditions

The country’s largest council, Birmingham City Council has a passed a motion rejecting the government’s plans to turn all schools in academies. They argue it is not in the best interests of the children as there is no evidence that academisation improves standards.
UNISON locally is working with fellow teaching and support staff trade unions to oppose Forced Academies. The following letter was sent to all Sheffield City Councillors at the end of April.

Dear Colleague

UNISON writes to you regarding the recent publication of the Education White Paper “Education Excellence Everywhere” and urges you to follow the lead of Birmingham City Council and pass a motion rejecting the Government’s plan to turn all schools into academies.

As you are no doubt aware there is widespread opposition to this proposal from across the education and political spectrums, including from influential Tory backbenchers and Councils.
The Parliamentary Labour Party, as well as support staff and teaching Trade Unions have all made clear their reasons for opposing forced academies i.e.

1)    There is no evidence that academies improve standards of education
2)    The proposals are a threat to local democracy, removing all accountability
3)    Removing the requirement to have parent and staff governors
4)    Academy Trusts have the freedom to break away from national agreements and set their own pay and conditions
5)    No oversight of compliance issues, raising significant H+S concerns
6)    The estimated cost is 1.6 billion pounds

Already Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan is pulling back on George Osborne’s proposal. It is highly likely the Government will either U turn, kick into the long grass or come up with a very much watered down proposal.
The Tory dominated County Council Network, which represents 37 local authorities with responsibility for education say “the government plans could harm councils’ ability to support young children and those with the greatest need”.Sheffield should not be seen to be in a position of passive co-operation when conservatives are vociferously opposing forced academies in their local authorities.

UNISON therefore looks to our elected representatives to clearly lead the way on what is right for the city’s children by allowing schools to make their own informed decisions and not accept the one size fits all forced academy programme.

Thank you for your time.
We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Kind regards

Lisa Smith
Education Convenor


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