Condition Improvement Fund

Information for academies, sixth-form colleges and non-diocesan Voluntary Aided (VA) schools about the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF).


The Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) is an annual bidding round for eligible academies, sixth-form colleges and non-diocesan VA schools to apply for capital funding. The priority for the fund is to address significant condition need, keeping education provider buildings safe and in good working order. This includes funding projects to address health and safety issues, building compliance and poor building condition.

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

Information for CIF applicants: 2020 to 2021

Condition Improvement Fund 2020 to 2021: information for applicants (PDF, 802KB, 53 pages) provides details of projects that were appropriate for funding and the assessment criteria for 2020 to 2021.

This year’s criteria favours bids from applicants with strong governance and good financial management. We think there’s a strong link between trusts with a good grip on finance and governance and effective, value for money capital delivery.

CIF portal

For CIF 2020 to 2021 we have introduced a new CIF portal which will require a new username and password.

Read the ‘Applying to CIF’ section of Condition Improvement Fund 2020 to 2021: information for applicants (PDF, 802KB, 53 pages) for more information.

Key dates

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

We will notify applicants of the outcome in spring 2020.

Who can apply

Single academy trusts, small multi-academy trusts (MATs), sixth-form colleges and non-diocesan VA schools can apply for CIF. To be eligible to apply for the 2020 to 2021 round, you must have been:

  • an open academy, sixth-form college or non-diocesan VA school as at 1 September 2019
  • a school with a signed academy order as at 1 September 2019 (if successful, you must have converted to academy status and had a funding agreement in place by 1 April 2020 to receive funding)

MATs with 5 or more academies and more than 3,000 pupils cannot apply for CIF. These trusts will receive a School Condition Allocation (SCA) to invest across their estate for 2020 to 2021.


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

Please use the Condition Improvement Fund loan: repayment calculator 2019 (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 36.3KB) to determine the annual and total repayments that will be incurred.

Loans are offered at Public Works Loan Board rates of interest, the same rate that local authorities can access to invest in their schools. You’ll make loan repayments through abatement of revenue funding paid to you and reinvested into future capital budgets.

CIF outcome for 2019 to 2020

The outcome for 2019 to 2020 has been published.

Urgent Capital Support (UCS): How to apply

Urgent Capital Support (UCS) is for academies,sixth-form colleges and non-diocesan VA schools which do not have access to a SCA, and require funding assistance to address urgent building condition issues that either put the safety of pupils and staff at risk, or threaten the closure of the whole, or a significant part of, the school.

Applications can only be considered from institutions outside of the main round where there is a genuine and immediate need for urgent support that cannot wait until the next round.

Urgent Capital Support (UCS) - Application Form

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If you need further advice after the publication of the full guidance, please contact us using the ESFA enquiry form.

Published 16 October 2014
Last updated 17 December 2019 + show all updates
  1. The Condition Improvement Fund 2020 to 2021 is now closed for applications.

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

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

  4. Updated with 2020 to 2021 application information.

  5. The appeal process has closed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  13. CIF appeals round

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

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

  16. Update on the CIF portal.

  17. update regarding the CIF Portal

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

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

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

  21. 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.

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

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

  24. Updated with information for applicants 2016 to 2017.

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

  26. Updated with information on appeal outcomes

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

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

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

  30. Updated with advice about submitted online applications.

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

  32. Updated with online application document

  33. Loan calculator added

  34. Webinar details added.

  35. Updated with detailed information for applicants.

  36. First published.