Energy efficiency is becoming increasingly important within the UK, and the Government is looking at new ways to make the UK more energy efficient.

The UK Government has set aside £500 million in order to allow a significant move towards enhancing energy efficiency within schools and colleges across England. This funding will allow schools and colleges to become more resilient during the winter months as the money they receive will be spent on upgrades in the form of energy efficient measures. These upgrades also have the potential to lower costly winter energy bills for these educational institutions.

The type of educational institution, receiving the funding, decides how much is actually received. It has been estimated that primary schools will receive an average of £16,000. Secondary Schools will receive an average of £42,000. Further education college groups are expected to receive a significant boost to increase their energy efficiency, as they are to receive an average of £290,000.

This funding should be used to increase the energy efficiency of the schools and colleges that receive it. Therefore, the money can be used for energy efficiency measures including insulating buildings in order to prevent heat loss from pipes, installing more advanced and improved heating controls, and transitioning the lighting systems to a more efficient system.

 This funding should be used to increase
the energy efficiency of the schools and colleges that receive it.

The £500 million energy efficiency upgrade funding builds upon the UK Government’s Energy Relief Scheme. The scheme was designed to support educational institutions during the winter months. This scheme is set to run until spring next year (2024).

Energy Efficiency in Schools

The UK Government has also pledged an extra £2 billion as part of their Autumn Statement. This funding will go towards improving schools during the upcoming years and is the highest real-terms investment in the history of British schools.

Of this £2 billion, £400 million will be allocated to local councils. The local councils that receive this funding will be obligated to use it specifically to assist children that have special educational needs or disabilities.

Academies and schools, that are classed as being maintained mainstream, have been assured that they will also receive funding. The UK Government have announced that this funding will be available in April 2024.

With this scheme, the average amount of funding per student in a mainstream school will approximately rise by 5% overall. This is when compared to the funding received per student in mainstream school during the 2022/23 financial year.

An average primary school that has roughly 200 students will receive approximately £28,000, secondary schools with roughly 900 students will receive around £170,000.

Gillian Keegan, the UK Government’s Secretary of State for Education of the United Kingdom, has emphasised the importance of increasing both schools and colleges energy efficiency. She states that:

“Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine is driving up energy prices worldwide, so it is important to look at the things we can do to make classrooms more energy efficient and resilient to price fluctuations… 

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.”

New guidance is also set to be released on the 6th of December 2023, that will be issued to schools in order to help them optimise their energy efficiency, reduce their carbon emission, enhance their sustainability, and increase their resilience. This guidance has been put in place, not just to help schools and colleges through the winter months, but also to help them for the foreseeable future.

This injection of funding supplements the £1.8 billion that has already been put aside this year to improve the condition of school buildings. Another £1.4 billion has been invested under the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which will help to improve public sector buildings, which includes schools. This funding will be available over the next three financial years in order to show a commitment to fostering sustainability and energy efficiency in educational institutions infrastructure.