Schools: Energy

Department for Education written question – answered on 27th September 2022.

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Photo of Damien Moore Damien Moore Assistant Whip

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that schools are not substantially impacted by rising energy prices.

Photo of Jonathan Gullis Jonathan Gullis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Schools will benefit from the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which will run until at least 31 March 2023. This will reduce how much schools need to spend on their energy and give schools greater certainty over their budgets during the winter months.

Any school which has signed a fixed energy contract since April 2022 will be eligible for support if, at the time they signed their contact, wholesale prices for the next 6 months were expected to be higher than the Government supported price of £211/MWh for electricity, and £75/MWh for gas.

For example, a school which uses 10 MWh of electricity and 22 MWh of gas a month and signed a fixed contract giving them a current monthly energy bill of about £10,000, would receive support based on the difference between expected wholesale prices when they signed their contract and the Government supported price. For a contract signed in July 2022, this could be worth £240/MWh for electricity and £70/MWh for gas, meaning the school receives a discount of £4,000 per month, reducing their original bill by 40%.

Support will also be available to schools on variable, deemed and other contracts.

There will be a review in 3 months time to determine how the scheme should best be targeted beyond this period to focus support on vulnerable sectors.

The details of the scheme can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/energy-bill-relief-scheme-help-for-businesses-and-other-non-domestic-customers.

The Government is also providing schools with the largest cash boost in a decade. Following the 2021 Spending Review, core schools funding (including funding for both mainstream schools and high needs) is increasing by £4 billion in 2022/23 compared to the previous year.

The Department knows that schools are facing higher costs and that these costs impact schools differently depending on their circumstance. The Department will continue to monitor these pressures and support schools in managing them, through our range of school resource management tools. Where schools are in serious financial difficulty, they should contact their local authority or the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

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