Guidance

Condition Improvement Fund

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

Applies to England

Overview

The Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) is an annual bidding round for eligible academies, sixth-form colleges and voluntary aided (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 VA schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted that can demonstrate a need to expand.

Information for CIF applicants: 2022 to 2023

Condition Improvement Fund 2022 to 2023: information for applicants (PDF, 459KB, 58 pages) provides details of projects that are appropriate for funding and the assessment criteria for 2022 to 2023.

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

CIF portal

For CIF 2022 to 2023, you will require access to the CIF portal to submit your applications.

Read the ‘Applying to CIF’ section of the Condition Improvement Fund 2022 to 2023: information for applicants (PDF, 459KB, 58 pages) for more information.

Who can apply

To be eligible to apply for CIF funding, you must have been by the start of September 2021 one of the following:

  • stand-alone academy
  • school in a multi-academy trust (MAT) with fewer than 5 schools at the start of September 2021, or with 5 or more schools but fewer than 3,000 pupils in those schools (or their predecessors) as counted in the spring 2021 census or 2020/21 individualised learner record (ILR)
  • VA school in a VA body or VA group with fewer than 5 schools at the start of September 2021, or with 5 schools but fewer than 3,000 pupils in those schools as counted in the spring 2021 census or 2020/21 ILR
  • sixth-form college
  • school with a signed academy order as of the start of September 2021 that DfE expects will convert by 1 April 2022

You will receive a school condition allocation (SCA) in 2022 to 2023 if you are a:

  • local authority
  • MAT with 5 or more schools at the start of September 2021 and at least 3,000 pupils in those schools (or their predecessors) as counted in the spring 2021 census or 2020/21 ILR
  • VA body with 5 or more schools at the start of September 2021 and at least 3,000 pupils in those schools (or their predecessors) as counted in the spring 2021 census or 2020/21 ILR
  • eligible non-maintained special school (direct allocation in respect of state funded pupils)
  • eligible special post-16 institution (direct allocation in respect of state funded pupils)
  • MAT chain (a group of more than one trust) if you’ve opted in and the chain meets the school and pupil number thresholds for MATs (this system is being phased out and no new chains can opt in)

If a school is invited to bid for CIF in the 2022 to 2023 financial year, their responsible body will not receive any SCA funding on their behalf. The school should therefore apply for funding from CIF if they have condition requirements.

Pupil count

For special and alternative provision schools (including pupil referral units), we now multiply the pupil count by 4.5 for the purposes of determining either CIF or SCA eligibility. For example, we would now 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 that the pupil is registered at. For example, pupils 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 headcount.

Loans

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.

Use the Condition Improvement Fund loan: repayment calculator 2021 (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 36.5KB) 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.

Applications for 2021 to 2022

The outcome for 2021 to 2022 is now published.

Urgent Capital Support (UCS)

UCS is specifically for urgent condition issues that threaten immediate school closure.

Who can apply

You can apply if you are an academy, sixth-form college or VA school and you meet these 2 conditions:

  • you do not receive school condition allocation (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 only be considered where there is a genuine and immediate need for urgent support, and you cannot wait until the next round of CIF.

How funding is offered

UCS funding is primarily offered as a loan, subject to an assessment of trust finances. Trusts may also be required to contribute.

Grant funding may only be provided in exceptional circumstances.

Apply for UCS

Ensure you read the guidance and application form carefully. Your application may be delayed if you do not provide the right documentation with your application.

  1. Read Guidance for applicants: UCS (PDF, 295KB, 18 pages).

  2. Fill out the Application Form: UCS (MS Word Document, 221KB)

  3. Fill out the Trust financial template (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 71.2KB)

  4. Email your application form and financial template to academy.questions@education.gov.uk and include ‘Urgent Capital Support application’ and your institution name in the subject line.

Ensure that the size of your email does not exceed 9MB.

Contact

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

Published 16 October 2014
Last updated 10 November 2021 + show all updates
  1. Amended the deadline for submitting applications from 16 December to 15 December 2021.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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'.

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

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

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

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

  10. Updated with 2020 to 2021 application information.

  11. The appeal process has closed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  19. CIF appeals round

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

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

  22. Update on the CIF portal.

  23. update regarding the CIF Portal

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

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

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

  27. 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.

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

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

  30. Updated with information for applicants 2016 to 2017.

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

  32. Updated with information on appeal outcomes

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

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

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

  36. Updated with advice about submitted online applications.

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

  38. Updated with online application document

  39. Loan calculator added

  40. Webinar details added.

  41. Updated with detailed information for applicants.

  42. First published.