I’ve been hearing a lot of stories about businesses being charged ridiculous amounts for electricity and gas due to the fact that they’re not protected by a price cap like domestic users. This is a big problem for schools and colleges too, with many seeing price increases in excess of 100%. Typical examples show Schools paying £50,000 a month for electricity and £13,000 a month for gas, prices that are over budget to the tune of £54,000 a month. The cost of energy can easily double with bills up from £85,000 a year to £170,000 a year when new contracts are signed. So, it’s not surprising that many Schools are considering four, or even three day weeks to limit their expenditure on energy.
Crisis meetings are taking place at many schools up and down the country as budgets are destroyed by rising energy prices and rises in Teachers pay (new recruits will get a 9% pay rise, while established Teachers will get 5%). Some Schools are even planning Teacher redundancies over the next few months. Certainly a lot of Schools will be looking to freeze recruitment as budgets are stretched to the limit. Shorter School days, cuts to after school clubs and energy saving measures are likely to be implemented. Commenting on the huge price hikes, Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of School Leaders’ Union the NAHT, said the situation was a “huge concern” for leaders and posed a major threat to the smooth running of many schools. “The additional costs we’re hearing about so far could cripple many school budgets,” he added.