10 Dec 2018

Sheffield tech tycoon backs petition to redress "chronic lack of funding" in city schools

A Sheffield-born tech tycoon who has put £1million into a foundation to help education in city schools has backed the fairer funding petition.

David Richards, chief executive of WANdisco, said there was a 'chronic lack of funding' in Sheffield schools and signed the petition.

Mr Richards has started the David and Jane Richards Family Foundation, that has donated £1.1m to boost computer education in schools after complaining about the curriculum for years.

His old school, Tapton School, in Crosspool, is the first to benefit with a hands-on course which will launch in September and will teach pupils how to use apps to manipulate and analyse huge amounts of data.

The foundation has also donated money to Wisewood Community Primary School to fund an apiary and spread awareness of the plight of bees and helped children learn about nature and ecology.


Mr Richards, whose data company has offices in has offices in Sheffield, California and China, Japan, Belfast, Australia and India, said: "I received a fabulous education in Sheffield in the 1970s and 80s that formed the platform for a career where we are now fortunate enough to give back to the system.

"I know first hand the chronic lack of funding in Sheffield schools - yes the pot is getting bigger but not at the same rate as pupil growth.


"This should not be a political question but one about fairness and quality of the education system for future generations."

The Star and Sheffield Telegraph has united with Sheffield Council, Learn Sheffield, the city’s six MPs, businesses, schools, community groups and individuals to fight for fair funding.

The Department For Education said the purpose of the new funding formula is to correct historic disparities in the funding system, which involves redistributing funding to historically underfunded areas.

A spokesman said that schools in the area will attract an increase in funding of 6.6 per cent - equivalent to £20.4 million - when the NFF is implemented in full by 2020/21.