Schools consider turning down heating and giving out jumpers to pupils to tackle soaring energy bills

28 August 2022, 07:54 | Updated: 28 August 2022, 10:07

Schools are considering turning the heating down
Schools are considering turning the heating down. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Schools are considering turning down the heating and supplying jumpers to keep pupils warm instead as the cost of living crisis bites.

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Soaring energy bills have left some education bosses fretting about the cost of heating the buildings.

This could see teachers asking pupils to make sure they're wearing jumpers to keep warm if the temperature is a few degrees lower, with poorer pupils given suitable clothing by schools.

Steve Chalke, the head of the Oasis Academies groups of dozens of schools throughout England, told The Sun: "Whatever happens, we have got to keep the heating on in schools. We can't allow students to freeze.

"We may be able to turn it down by a degree or two and ask everybody to wear jumpers.

"Schools may ask children to bring jumpers in, but we have a lot of students from poor socio-economic groups. So we will have to provide the jumpers."

Christine Jardine says government is 'missing in action'

The Government has been called on to do more, having already committed packages that will discount energy bills from October – when the new price cap of £3,549 kicks in – and give targeted support to the most vulnerable.

Tory leadership candidate Liz Truss is considering a VAT cut of five per cent to tackle the cost of living crisis, and is expected to propose more winter fuel payments if she wins.

Read more: Liz Truss 'considers 5 per cent VAT cut' as Boris vows UK will emerge 'stronger' from cost of living crisis

Rishi Sunak said he will support the most vulnerable.

Jonathan Brearley, the CEO of energy regulator Ofgem, which raised the price cap, said: "The Government support package is delivering help right now, but it's clear the new Prime Minister will need to act further to tackle the impact of the price rises that are coming in October and next year.”

Gas prices skyrocketed after the global reopening following the coronavirus outbreak led to a spike in demand after long lockdowns, and exacerbated by Russia's actions against the West following the invasion of Ukraine.

'I survived last Tuesday to Friday on just tea and coffee.'

Hospitals and schools have been told to install back-up generators to make sure the lights stay on, but Government insiders say they are confident blackouts will be avoided.

A government spokesman said: "We know schools are facing cost pressures, in particular rising energy bills.

"In 2022-23, core schools funding will increase by £4billion compared to 2021-22 — seven per cent in cash terms per pupil boost.

"The IFS [Institute for Fiscal Studies] has recently confirmed this means increased costs will be broadly affordable for schools in 2022-23."

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