Bristol infant school limits heating to tackle fuel costs

As reported by BBC News, school has asked pupils to wear warm clothes while it limits its heating use to avoid rising fuel costs

Summerhill Infants in St George, Bristol, told parents it faces bills of more than £30,000 if it did not change its energy consumption habits. The National Education Union said it shows the “sad, hard truth” that schools still do not have enough financial support. Bristol City Council said it was trying to support affected schools.

In an email sent to parents, the school said it will limit the time the heating is on in the day, turn down thermostats for hot water and turn off lights when not in use If it did not take action, its costs would be “more than double” its annual costs, it said.

One parent, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the BBC she was concerned the decision could affect her child’s asthma. She said: “Being in the cold can really affect her, so I think that she can potentially get ill. If she starts getting ill I will take her out and because I can provide her heating at home, as much as that’s expensive.

“If it was something that they asked me to pay £10 [towards] I would pay some money. I would happily provide money.”

Another parent said she would not be concerned if it meant the school would be “just a little bit cooler”.

“No, I’m not too fussed. If they need to wear a thick jumper that’s fine,” she said.

“I trust the school to not make it freezing. They’re putting the kids first.”

National Education Union representative Robin Head said the rising fuel costs and lack of further financial support will affect schools nationally.

“It uncovers the sad hard truth that schools aren’t funded properly enough,” he said.

“Teachers have not had a pay rise this year. Schools are really struggling budget wise.”

A Department for Education spokesman said: “Core funding for schools will rise by £4.7bn by 2024-25.

“Schools experiencing financial issues can access a range of schools resource management tools, and, in serious circumstances additional funding or advances from local authorities or the ESFA.”

A council spokesperson said: “To support schools, our energy services are working on trying to extend current energy contracts.”

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