To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to take steps to increase school budgets in response to rising energy costs.
The department recognises that schools will be facing cost pressures in the coming months, particularly due to the increase in energy prices. We are looking carefully at how this will impact schools and are considering what additional support we could offer.
Cost increases should be seen in the wider context of funding for schools. The government is delivering a £4 billion cash increase in the core schools budget next year, taking total funding to £53.8 billion. This includes an additional £1.2 billion for schools in the new schools supplementary grant for the 2022/23 financial year. Overall, this represents a 7% cash terms per pupil boost, which will help schools meet the pressures we know they are facing, particularly around energy costs. The department pays close attention to financial health of the sector, and we are closely assessing where energy costs may more significantly impact schools’ financial health.
All schools can access a range of school resource management (SRM) tools to help them get the best value from their resources, to help them save on regular purchases and reduce non-teaching costs. Our SRM tools include recommended deals for energy costs and ancillary services relating to energy. The department will also update and strengthen guidance on a regular basis to inform schools of the market and commercial position, with practical advice on exiting existing and entering new contracts, available here: https://www.get-help-buying-for-schools.service.gov.uk/procurement-support. The Get Help Buying for Schools service will also be able to offer support to schools in switching and entering new contracts.
The department recognises that every school’s circumstances are different, and where schools are in serious financial difficulty, they should contact their local authority or the Education and Skills Funding Agency.