Written by: Adam Finch on Thursday 12/04/2018
The Condition Improvement Fund, or CIF, is a government-backed fund intended to assist academies and sixth form colleges improve the condition, safety and thermal performance of their buildings.
Applications for funding are made to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), a government agency sponsored by the Department for Education (DfE). Priority is generally given to projects which relate to the condition, safety and thermal performance of academic buildings, although a small percentage of the overall funding is allocated for expansion applications to address a lack of curriculum space.
Independent academies, sixth form colleges, free schools and Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) which do not consist of at least 5 academies and more than 300 pupils. pupils may apply. Likewise, schools with a signed academy order of 1st September of any year that is expected to covert to academy status by 31st March of the following year may also apply.
The CIF is intended to address two main project types – condition and expansion. The objective is to ensure that academic buildings are not only fit for purpose, but represent a safe and eco friendly environment in which to learn and study.
Condition based projects include high priority issues surrounding health and safety, such as removal of asbestos from school buildings, gas and electrical safety, or fire protection measures/installations.
Priority is also given to projects that ensure buildings are secure against adverse weather conditions. Typically, this includes roof repairs/refurbishments, the upgrade of windows and doors, or other external elements of a school building which are considered detrimental to the performance of the building.
Likewise, applications are considered for the replacement of Mechanical and Electrical installations which are now considered energy inefficient due to their age and performance. This includes boiler and lighting replacements.
CIF bids for expansion projects are available for academies and sixth form colleges with an ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted, and providing all other criteria set by the ESFA notes are satisfied.
Expansion bids are based on the following criteria:
Applying for the Condition Improvement Fund
Applications for CIF are generally heavily oversubscribed, so it is essential that the proposed project(s) is related to the funding priorities mentioned above. Applications are made via the Education and Skills Funding Agency portal, usually in December of each year. Successful academies will be notified in April of the following year.
To improve an academies chance of success, substantial evidence of the project need is required. This should generally include photographic evidence and independent third party reports which support the application text as to why funding is required. An academy PDS Survey data report is useful as this survey/report has been commissioned by the ESFA.
The applications are also assessed on ‘Value for Money’ and ‘Project Deliverability’. Therefore, budget costs and outline programme of works are required within the application.
For further information on the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF), or indeed, any other funding opportunities available for the education sector, please contact our Building and Project Consultancy Team at Eddisons for further information.