CIF applicants now expected to provide additional financial contributions
Schools have been warned that they must increase their contributions in order to stand the best chance of receiving improvement grants.
New DfE guidelines for 2022/23 Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) applications – which cover grants for repairs, improvements and certain expansion projects – reveal additional contributions made by schools will result in them being considered more favourably.
The CIF fund is open to single academies, smaller MATs, sixth form colleges and certain voluntary aided schools, with applications given a score out of 100.
Last year it was possible to achieve top marks in one section of the bid if applicants were able to put in at least 10per cent of the funding needed for projects costing over £1 million, 15 per cent for projects over £100,000 and 25 per cent for projects costing less.
However the new guidelines have raised the bar significantly, with applicants now expected to contribute at least 30 per cent to receive top marks – and the best chance of being granted funding.
Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Members have already told us that they find it very difficult to access the CIF, and this looks like it will only make matters worse.”
However, the DfE has acknowledged that some cash-strapped schools will be unable to meet the new contribution levels and in such cases should prioritise obtaining points elsewhere.
Applicants have also been warned that they should no longer submit surveys by manufacturers or contractors hoping to work on the project but must instead table an independent survey, otherwise the bid will be rejected. Contact our education team for advice.
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