Press release

New endowment fund to turn around weakest schools and raise standards for disadvantaged pupils

Education Secretary Michael Gove commits £110 million to an education endowment designed to raise standards in the weakest schools.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Secretary of State for Education has today allocated £110 million to establish an education endowment fund (EEF) designed to raise standards in underperforming schools.

The EEF will distribute money to local authorities, academy sponsors, charities and other groups that bring forward innovative proposals to improve performance in our most challenging schools. Those bidding for funds from the EEF will have to outline how their proposals will raise attainment. Bidders must also demonstrate how they will be held accountable for the success of their proposals.

The announcement comes as Mr Gove hosts a visit from Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education. Mr Duncan is here to exchange ideas with the UK Government. On both sides of the Atlantic, reforming Governments are implementing ambitious plans to transform state education. Secretary Duncan has helped introduce charter schools, the equivalent of our Free Schools and academies, to help raise the attainment of disadvantaged students. He has also made funds available to improve teacher recruitment and training.

The EEF draws on President Barack Obama and Secretary Duncan’s ‘Race to the Top’ programme, which invites states to apply for funding to trailblaze bold and innovative approaches in schools across the country.

By inviting bids from those who wish to turn round our weakest schools, the Government is also building on the transformative potential of the new pupil premium. Our most challenging schools are overwhelmingly concentrated in our areas of greatest deprivation.

The pupil premium will result in more money being allocated to support the education of all of our poorest children, adding £2.5 billion to school funding by the end of the CSR period. The EEF will allow many of the schools that educate our poorest children to do even more, and the innovative practice it encourages should drive improvement across the school system.

The EEF will be administered at arm’s length from ministers. The team administering the fund will be appointed following an open competition.

Funding for projects will come from returns on the EEF’s investment and fund managers will be able to draw down some of the capital from the total sum each year. The independent organisation that runs the EEF will also be expected to attract additional contributions from other organisations and philanthropists to add to the fund.

This fund is being established from the money that was set aside when the Government took the decision not to increase the number of free school meals. The establishment of the fund fulfils the Government’s pledge to better use this money to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.

Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, said:

The international evidence shows that we’re falling behind other countries educationally, and we have one of the most unequal school systems in the developed world. That’s why we need to press ahead with reforms which will raise standards for all children.

This new fund builds on the success of President Obama’s ‘Race to the Top’ scheme. It will make schools and local authorities compete to help the poorest. Combined with our pupil premium, the expansion of the Academy programme, more rigorous exams and tough action to improve discipline, it adds up to a comprehensive package of school improvement.

Each project will have to meet tough criteria in order to be awarded funding, and bidders must prove their innovative, bold and rigorous approaches will support school improvement. Projects can be run by schools, charities, teachers, local authorities, national leaders of education, or successful academy sponsors and principals.

The EEF is just one part of the Government’s strategy for narrowing the attainment gap between the richest and poorest pupils and raising standards in underperforming schools. The Department’s detailed strategy for tackling the weakest schools will be laid out in the forthcoming schools white paper.

 Notes to editors

  1. Organisations will be able to apply to administer the EEF from 5 November 2010. Information about how to apply will be available at
  2. The external group that administers the EEF will
    • invest the endowment in a way that minimises risk and maximises return
    • promote the fund to potential bidders
    • receive and assess bids from interested groups
    • quality assure and, if necessary, work with applicants to further develop promising proposals
    • ensure there is robust evaluation of projects
    • disseminate findings
    • provide annual reports to the Department on issues of take up, quality of evidence produced, and effective financial management.
  3. The organisation will be appointed following an open competition. It will be independent of the Government and have freedom to award grants in response to bids from organisations including schools, local authorities, academy sponsors, teachers, charities and social enterprises that want to carry out innovative work in their area. The organisation will not be able profit from administering the fund.

  4. Each bid will be assessed for value for money and evidence of success, and all projects will undergo due diligence checks. Funding will vary from project to project, depending on local need and the strength of the bid. Bids from groups that want to support disadvantaged pupils in underperforming schools will be prioritised.

  5. From September 2011, schools will benefit from a new pupil premium for disadvantaged pupils. Headteachers will be free to make their own decisions about how to spend the premium in order to meet pupils’ needs.

  6. Race to the Top is a US programme that was announced by President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in July 2009. You can read more about this via the link to the press release on this page.

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Published 3 November 2010