£500m for schools to make buildings more energy efficient

Average secondary to get £42k and primary £16k to 'futureproof' buildings, but energy bills support to end

Average secondary to get £42k and primary £16k to 'futureproof' buildings, but energy bills support to end

Schools will get £500 million funding to “futureproof” buildings by making them more energy efficient.

This will work out, on average, as £42,000 per secondary school and £16,000 for a primary school. Futher education colleges will get £290,000 on average.

The Department for Education said funding would be paid to schools in December and colleges in January.

Government said “improvements could include installing better heating controls, insulation to reduce heat loss from pipes or switching to energy efficient lighting”.

But few further details were provided in a press release sent to journalists yesterday evening.

New guidance will also be published today to “support schools to maximise energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and improve sustainability and resilience this winter and beyond”.

As expected, government confirmed the energy support for schools will end in the spring.

DfE sets out how £2bn funding will be allocated

DfE has also released more detail about the £2.3 billion funding boost from the Autumn spending review – of which £2 billion is new money.

The press release said academies, maintained mainstream schools and special schools will all be guaranteed a funding boost from April next year.

Funding per pupil for mainstream schools will increase by approximately five percent in the next financial year, compared to 2022-23. 

A typical primary school with 200 pupils will get approximately £28,000 extra, and secondary schools with around 900 pupils will receive approximately £170,000 more.

Of the extra funding, £400 million will go to councils’ high needs budgets, to support children with special educational needs or disabilities.

Schools Week has revealed how many councils kept previous funding boosts. The DfE did not respond to questions over their claims that special schools will be guaranteed to get the cash.

It’s not clear if the £500 million is new funding, or recycled from elsewhere.

‘We are deeply concerned’

Education secretary Gillian Keegan said: “We’re putting this cash in the hands of school and college leaders quickly, so they can decide what work is needed and so that our brilliant teachers can focus on teaching in a warm and safe environment.

“Education is rightly a top priority for this Government and we will continue to strive to provide every child with a world-class education.”

But Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the investment will “not pay energy bills in the immediate future”.

“We are deeply concerned that the government intends to end the energy relief scheme that is currently in place to help schools and colleges meet rising costs at the end of March.

“Removing this support will expose them to massive increases in energy bills that are simply unaffordable, and this will necessitate cuts in educational provision. Funding for energy efficiency upgrades is a longer term undertaking and will not address the present crisis.”

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