Schools: Energy

Department for Education written question – answered on 16th May 2022.

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Photo of Munira Wilson Munira Wilson Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the average cost of energy bills per school was in (a) 2018, (b) 2019, (c) 2020 and (d) 2021.

Photo of Munira Wilson Munira Wilson Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the average cost of energy bills for schools in 2022.

Photo of Munira Wilson Munira Wilson Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the average increase in energy bill costs for schools in 2022.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

The department pays close attention to the financial health of the sector, and the cost pressures it faces. The department knows that the vast majority of school expenditure is devoted to staff costs, with only about a quarter attributed to non-staff costs, including those related to energy bills. Table 1 shows the proportion of schools’ income spent on energy costs in recent years.

Table 1: proportion of schools’ income spent on energy

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

Academy trusts (academic year)

1.5%

1.3%

1.3%

Maintained schools (financial year)

1.2%

1.3%

1.1%

These proportions can be calculated using data found on the schools financial benchmarking website, and is based on schools’ consistent financial reporting returns for local authority maintained schools and academies’ accounting returns. Further information can be found here: https://schools-financial-benchmarking.service.gov.uk/Help/DataSources.

The department does not yet have comprehensive data on schools’ expenditure in financial year 2021/22, or 2022/23 and is therefore not able to provide information on schools’ expenditure on energy costs over this period. However, the department is working to understand recent changes in energy costs, and how these have impacted schools differently. To support this, the department has commissioned a survey requesting more detailed information from schools on their energy contracts, we have encouraged all schools to complete this survey, which can be found here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc5rIg_Bd8KjktfdfvvncCFu8kh8vf16_P3dJzy68W2GWXfzw/viewform. From this work, the department will consider what additional support it can offer.

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