Still plenty of cash in the pot for academies, if you know where to look

With the Tories fully backing the expansion of academies across the country in its first full year as a majority Government, it’s not surprising that funding is still readily available for this pet project, despite austerity evident across so many other Whitehall budgets.

Condition Improvement Funding (CIF) allows existing academies to apply for capital funds – something state-funded schools could only dream of right now. Despite this pot of money still being readily available, not all academies know about the CIF or how to prepare a credible bid application to grab a slice of the funding pie.

Overall, the CIF reinforces the Department for Education (DfE)’s support for the academies programme, supplementing the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) which was introduced in 2010. Both maintained schools and academies can put in bids for urgent repairs but it is a competitive process, where less than half get what they ask for. That said, if the schools are successful then they can bid for projects with a value of up to £500k, so we are not talking small change here.

The CIF is a grant so there is no payback or match funding attached, academies are just asked to demonstrate that the funding is essential for specific projects to continue their path to “academic success”. Anything of an urgent nature or has an H&S aspect attached is usually looked on pretty favourably. It might not be particularly sexy but the likes of boiler / heating replacements, roof repairs, electrical rewiring or full classroom extensions have all been given the green light recently.

So, if you know of any maintained schools or academies out there that are using a plethora of buckets to try and keep the drips off the assembly stage or pupils hot desking as their classrooms are too small, then this is certainly worth looking into.

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