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Schools: Energy

Volume 472: debated on Monday 25 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the potential effect of changes in energy prices on school budgets for 2008-09. (187151)

We took account of a wide range of cost pressures on pay and non-pay faced by schools in calculating the minimum funding guarantee of 2.1 per cent. from 2008-11, including a 1 per cent. efficiency gain. An inflationary rise of 2.7 per cent. per year for all non-pay pressures, including energy costs, was included in the calculation of the minimum funding guarantee. We chose not to identify a specific factor for increases in energy costs in the calculation of cost pressures feeding into the minimum funding guarantee. In 2006-07 average expenditure on energy costs only accounted for 1.35 per cent. of schools budgets, out of a total of 21.2 per cent. spent on non-pay.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what guidance his Department has given to schools on managing changes in energy costs and their effect on school budgets. (187152)

The Department has a range of guidance and tools already available, or currently in development, which assist schools in managing their energy resources and budgeting effectively against rising costs:

In April 2008 the Department will publish a planning guide to enable schools to better adapt to changes in their budgets and to ensure they have the appropriate tools to deliver school improvement alongside existing running costs.

Although energy costs represent only a very small proportion of the total expenditure of a school the Department has also previously published good practice guidance for schools on energy and water management1. This provides practical suggestions and simple ideas which can be easily implemented and achieve major savings.

In addition to this specific guidance the Department also enables schools to benchmark their energy expenditure with other schools through the Schools Financial Benchmarking website2.

Furthermore the Department is working with DEFRA to implement the European Energy Services Directive article 5 which requires the public sector to procure energy efficient products and goods. Guidance will be made available via Department websites.

1 http://www.dfes.gov.uk/valueformoney/docs/VFM_Document_ 84.pdf

2 https://sfb.teachernet.gov.uk/login.aspx