Special Educational Needs: Energy

Department for Education written question – answered at on 25 July 2022.

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Photo of Paulette Hamilton Paulette Hamilton Labour, Birmingham, Erdington

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support (a) Wilson Stuart School in Erdington and (b) other special academies to cover the costs of higher energy bills to ensure that they do not have to make cuts to other parts of their budget.

Photo of Will Quince Will Quince Minister of State (Education)

The department is aware schools are facing cost pressures, especially around energy costs. Cost pressures should be seen in the wider context of funding for schools. This government continues to deliver year on year increases to the core schools budget with a £7 billion cash increase in funding by the 2024/25 financial year, compared with the 2021/22 financial year, taking total funding to £56.8 billion by 2024/25. As a result, we can announce that high needs funding for children and young people with complex needs, including funding for the special schools in which many of them are educated, is increasing in the 2022/23 financial year by £1 billion, to a total of £9.1 billion.

Special schools, including Wilson Stuart School, should discuss with the local authorities placing pupils in their schools, how much high needs funding is passed on to them for helping with energy and other cost increases. Birmingham will attract a high needs funding increase of 15.6% per head of their population aged 2 to 18 this year, compared to the previous financial year’s allocation, bringing their total high needs funding allocation in the 2022/23 financial year to £243.5 million.

In addition, all schools can access the department’s schools resource management (SRM) offer. This includes a range of practical tools and information to help schools unlock efficiencies, for example, by saving money on regular purchases and avoiding paying ‘over the odds’ for services like energy, insurance, or recruitment advertising, which they can then reinvest in line with their own priorities.

The SRM offer includes the Get Help Buying for Schools service, which provides specialist support, advice, and guidance for schools around their procurement activity. The service signposts schools to ‘department-recommended’ frameworks for schools and trusts to recommended deals for energy costs and services relating to energy, which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/buying-for-schools/energy.

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