Question to the Department for Education:
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to protect school funding from the rise in electricity and gas prices.
We recognise that schools face inflationary pressures, and we continue to monitor the impact of rising utility costs on schools.
Cost increases should be seen in the wider context of funding for schools. The government is delivering real terms per pupil increases to school funding with 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 5% real terms per pupil boost, helping schools meet the pressures we know they are facing.
The department pays close attention to the financial health of the sector. We know that the vast majority of school expenditure is devoted to staff costs, with only about a quarter required for non-staff costs, including those related to utility bills. This means that even while costs are rising, inflation in this area would only have an impact on a small portion of a school’s overall budget.
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. This means schools can more effectively invest their resources into areas that improve educational outcomes for all pupils. Our SRM tools include two recommended deals for energy costs and ancillary services relating to energy, which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/find-a-dfe-approved-framework-for-your-school. We have also launched the new ‘get help with buying for schools’ service, a new national service to help schools realise value for money and savings on non-staff spend, available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/buying-for-schools/get-help-with-buying-for-schools.
We know 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.