SCHOOL energy costs have risen slightly in North Somerset over the past academic year, new figures show.

Amid last year's soaring gas and electricity prices, separate analysis suggests a significant proportion of school buildings across the country are suffering from poor energy efficiency, despite some improvement in recent years.

Figures from the Department for Education show £257,000 was spent on energy for local authority-run schools in North Somerset in the 2022-23 academic year – up slightly from the £248,000 spent the year before.

However, 2015-16 saw the highest expenditure in recent years, at £1.12 million.

Across England, expenditure on energy for local authority-maintained schools hit £485 million in 2022-23 – a 61% increase on the year before, when £302 million was spent.

Almost every local authority saw a rise, with 74% recording their highest spending since at least 2015-16. One local authority, Bolton, saw expenditure nearly triple compared to the year before.

The Local Government Association – a membership body for local authorities – said many schools have been voicing concerns about their financial stability.

Louise Gittins, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People’s Board, said schools are facing higher costs from "fuel, energy and food for school meals, alongside the need to fund agreed staff pay rises.”