Condition Improvement Fund

Information for eligible academies, sixth-form colleges and voluntary aided (VA) schools about the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF).

Applies to England

Eligible academies, sixth-form colleges and voluntary-aided (VA) schools can apply for capital funding from the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) in an annual bidding round.

The priority for the Department for Education (DfE) in administering the fund is to address significant condition needs – that is, keeping education providers’ buildings safe and in good working order. This includes funding projects that address health and safety issues, building compliance and buildings in poor condition.

The fund also supports a small number of expansion projects. These are for academies, sixth-form colleges and VA schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted that can demonstrate a need to expand.

Applications for CIF 2024 to 2025

Applications for the condition improvement fund 2024 to 2025 are now closed. A list of projects funded in CIF 2024 to 2025 is available.

Condition Improvement Fund 2024 to 2025: information for applicants (PDF, 405 KB, 63 pages) provides:

  • details of projects that are appropriate for funding and the assessment criteria for 2024 to 2025
  • guidance on using the CIF portal to submit your application

Who can apply

Schools are either part of bodies eligible for a school condition allocation (SCA) or eligible for CIF, depending on their size and type.

Local authorities, larger multi-academy trusts (MATs) and larger VA school bodies receive direct SCA to invest in priorities across the schools for which they are responsible. Smaller academy trusts, smaller VA bodies and sixth-form colleges are able to bid for CIF.

To be eligible to apply, by the start of September 2023 you must have been one of the following:

  • a stand-alone academy
  • a school in a MAT with fewer than 5 schools or fewer than 3,000 pupils, as counted in the spring 2023 census or the 2022 to 2023 individualised learner record (ILR)
  • a VA school in a VA body or VA group with fewer than 5 schools or fewer than 3,000 pupils, as counted in the spring 2023 census or the 2022 to 2023 ILR
  • a sixth-form college
  • a school with a signed academy order as of 1 September 2023 that DfE expects to convert to a CIF-eligible responsible body by 1 April 2024

CIF-eligible schools have been invited to apply to the fund for 2024 to 2025. If your school has been invited to bid, your responsible body will not receive any SCA funding on your behalf. If you have condition investment requirements, you should therefore apply direct for funding.

To receive direct SCA in 2024 to 2025, MATs and VA bodies must meet both of these eligibility criteria:

  • they must have had 5 or more open schools at the start of September 2023
  • those open schools or their predecessors must have had at least 3,000 pupils, as counted in the spring 2023 census or the 2022 to 2023 ILR

Pupil count

When assessing the eligibility of special and alternative provision schools (including pupil referral units), we multiply the count by 4.5 for the purposes of determining either CIF or SCA eligibility. For example, we would count a MAT with 1,000 pupils in special schools as having 4,500 pupils.

If pupils are registered at more than one institution, we divide the count by the number of institutions at which they are registered. For example, those dual-registered at a mainstream school and a pupil referral unit would have their count divided by 2 at both institutions.

For nursery schools and sixth-form colleges, we use the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) pupils rather than the count to assess eligibility.


Academies and sixth-form colleges can take out a loan for all or part of the project costs referenced in their application to demonstrate their commitment to the scheme.

You can use the Condition Improvement Fund 2024 to 2025: loan repayment calculator (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 36.4 KB) to determine the annual and total repayments that will be incurred.

Loans are offered at PWLB rates of interest – the same rate local authorities can access to invest in their schools. You’ll make loan repayments through an abatement of the revenue funding paid to you, which will be reinvested in future capital budgets.

Urgent capital support

Urgent capital support (UCS) is specifically for urgent condition issues that pose the threat of immediate school closure.

Who can apply

You can apply if you are an academy, sixth-form college or VA school and you meet both of these conditions:

  • you do not receive SCA
  • you need funding assistance to address urgent building condition issues that either:
    • put the safety of your pupils or staff at risk
    • threaten the closure of the whole or a significant part of your school

Your application will be considered only if there is a genuine and immediate need for UCS and you cannot wait until the next round of CIF.

How funding is offered

UCS funding is offered primarily as a loan, subject to an assessment of finances. Trusts may also be required to contribute. Grant funding will be provided only in exceptional circumstances.

How to apply for UCS

Make sure that you read the guidance and application form carefully. Your application may be delayed if you do not provide the right documentation.

  1. Read Urgent capital support: how to apply (PDF, 295 KB, 18 pages).
  2. Fill out the Urgent capital support: application form (MS Word Document, 206 KB).
  3. Fill out the Urgent capital support: finance template (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 69.9 KB).
  4. Email your application form and finance template to, with ‘Urgent capital support application’ and your institution name in the subject line. Make sure that the size of your email does not exceed 9MB.

More information

If you need further advice, contact us using the Customer Help Portal.

Published 16 October 2014
Last updated 26 March 2024 + show all updates
  1. Added a link to the 'Condition Improvement Fund: 2024 to 2025 outcome', and updated the link for more information to the Customer Help Portal.

  2. Changed a subheading from 'Information for CIF applicants: 2024 to 2025' to 'Applications for CIF 2024 to 2025’ for clarity and updated the same section to let people know that applications are now closed. Moved the link for the Condition Improvement Fund: 2023 to 2024 outcome into the 'Applications for CIF 2024 to 2025’ section.

  3. 'Condition Improvement Fund 2024 to 2025: information for applicants' has been updated to remove point deductions under financial viability, governance & school estate management.

  4. Updated with information about applications for the 2024 to 2025 financial year.

  5. Added a link to the 'Condition Improvement Fund: 2023 to 2024 outcome'.

  6. The 'CIF applications: 2023 to 2024' section has been updated with the information that the application round has now closed.

  7. In ‘Condition Improvement Fund 2023 to 2024: information for applicants’, the dates in the ‘Assessing good financial management – academy trusts’ section have been updated.

  8. The ‘Condition Improvement Fund 2023 to 2024: information for applicants’ and ‘Condition Improvement Fund 2023 to 2024: loan repayment calculator’ have been added, and the page has been updated to offer guidance now that the application round for CIF 2023 to 2024 is open.

  9. The 2022 to 2023 application window has now closed and we have added a link to the 'Condition Improvement Fund: 2022 to 2023 outcome'.

  10. Amended the deadline for submitting applications from 16 December to 15 December 2021.

  11. Updated the guidance to 'Information for CIF applicants: 2022 to 2023' and revised the 'Condition Improvement Fund loan: repayment calculator 2021'. Added more information about eligibility for the Condition Improvement Fund.

  12. Updated application information which needs to be submitted for for Urgent Capital Support. This includes updated guidance and application form, and a new Trust financial template.

  13. Updated with link to outcome for 2021 to 2022.

  14. Updated with information for 2021 to 2022. Added 'Condition Improvement Fund loan: repayment calculator 2020' and 'Condition Improvement Fund 2020 to 2021: information for applicants'.

  15. Updated with link to outcome for 2020 to 2021.

  16. The Condition Improvement Fund 2020 to 2021 is now closed for applications.

  17. The closing date for applications has been extended to midday, 17 December 2019 (was midday, 13 December 2019).

  18. Updated section 4.5 on voluntary aided schools and section 16.2 on VAT in 'Condition Improvement Fund 2020 to 2021: information for applicants'.

  19. Updated with 2020 to 2021 application information.

  20. The appeal process has closed.

  21. Added link to appeals information for CIF 2019 to 2020 round outcomes.

  22. Link added to 2019 to 2020 outcomes. Amends made to reflect that the application round has now closed.

  23. Updated to reflect that the application round closed at noon Friday 14 December 2018.

  24. Updated application form and guidance for Urgent Capital Support (UCS).

  25. Application round for 2019 to 2020 funding now open.

  26. Information about the 2019 to 2020 application round for the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF), including a checklist for applicants.

  27. Addition of content about how to apply for Urgent Capital Support

  28. CIF appeals round

  29. Amended to signpost tha launch of the CIF 2018 to 2019 appeals round.

  30. Updated to announce the 2018 to 2019 CIF outcome.

  31. Update on the CIF portal.

  32. update regarding the CIF Portal

  33. Amended to advise of problems with CIF portal and notice of extension to the deadline for applications

  34. Page updated to announce launch of the 2018 to 2019 CIF round together with revised guidance for applicants.

  35. Page updated following the announcement of the CIF 2017 to 2018 outcomes

  36. Amended to show that the Condition Improvement Fund applications deadline has been reached and no further applications for the 2017 to 2018 round will be accepted.

  37. Updated to include information for applicants for the 2017 to 2018 Condition Improvement Fund bidding round.

  38. Minor changes to reflect that the outcomes for 2016 to 2017 have been announced

  39. Updated with information for applicants 2016 to 2017.

  40. Updated with information about applying for CIF for 2016 to 2017.

  41. Updated with information on appeal outcomes

  42. Updated with information about the outcome of CIF 2015 to 2016.

  43. Updated to confirm that the application system is closed.

  44. Updated to change the application deadline date to 13 January.

  45. Updated with advice about submitted online applications.

  46. Updated with a link to the CIF online application and the CIF 2015 to 2016 online application user guide

  47. Updated with online application document

  48. Loan calculator added

  49. Webinar details added.

  50. Updated with detailed information for applicants.

  51. First published.