Pupils told to wear warm clothes as school limits its heating use in light of soaring gas prices

Infant school in Bristol reportedly warned parents that it faces bills of more than £30,000 if it won’t take energy saving steps

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A school in Bristol has reportedly asked pupils to wear warm clothes as it plans to limit the hours it switches on the heating to avoid rising energy bills.

According to the BBC, Summerhill Infant School in St George, Bristol told parents it faces bills of more than £30,000 if it will not make any change in its energy consumption patterns.

In an email sent to parents, the school reportedly said it will limit the time the heating is on during the day, turn down thermostats for hot water and turn off lights in the building while not in use.

A recent report by the Labour Party suggests schools across the UK could see their energy bills soar by up to £80 million in the coming months.

Three weeks ago, Northumberland County Council warns schools could face a 48% increase in gas bills and 26% in their payments for electricity.

The local authority, which is part of a regional purchasing partnership on key contracts, including energy, said: “Whilst we have been prudent in our procurement arrangements, we are not insulated from the spike in energy prices and this will lead to in-year cost pressures.”

A spokesperson for Bristol City Council said: “UK energy prices have risen sharply which in turn is pushing up bills across the city. Homes, businesses, schools are all feeling this additional financial challenge and it’s forcing many to make difficult choices about how they meet these extra costs.

“To support schools, our energy services are working on trying to extend current energy contracts to limit the impact of this surge in prices for those settings that are part of our contract scheme.

“Whilst these additional costs are unavoidable and beyond our control, we will continue to work closely with school leaders to help them budget and manage their finances.

“We’re in close contact with schools about budget pressures, mostly as a result of the pandemic, to identify these new challenges and feed this information back to the Department of Education.”

A Department for Education spokesman told ELN: “Core funding for schools will rise by £4.7 billion by 2024-25 compared to previous plans, building on the largest cash boost for a decade provided at the Spending Review in 2019.

“We have started to provide carbon dioxide monitors to state-funded education settings to support staff in balancing good ventilation with keeping classrooms at comfortable temperature, and we are investing millions in long-term projects to build greener and more energy-efficient schools.”

ELN has contacted Summerhill Infant School and BEIS for a response.

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