Strategic college improvement fund (SCIF)

The £15 million SCIF provided grants to colleges that needed to improve the quality of their provision of education and training.

The Strategic College Improvement Fund (SCIF) started with a pilot in October 2017 and is now closed for applications.

You can view a list of colleges that have successfully applied for strategic college improvement funding.

The £15 million programme has given colleges the opportunity to:

  • improve the quality of their provision
  • mobilise and strengthen improvement capacity within the further education (FE) sector

The SCIF has helped 80 colleges to undertake a focussed quality improvement programme with a higher-performing partner – something that colleges report might not have happened without the SCIF.

The main phase of the programme had high rates of participation and success. Around 74% of eligible colleges have applied, and 91% of applicants secured grants ranging from £60,000 to almost £500,000.

The SCIF is complemented by the National Leaders of Further Education (NLFEs) programme, which draws on the expertise of England’s best FE professionals to help colleges’ better meet learners’ needs.

The SCIF has been welcomed by the sector. The process evaluation of the SCIF pilot shows overwhelming support for the peer-to-peer model from applicant colleges, partners and wider stakeholders.

Published 28 June 2018
Last updated 6 June 2019 + show all updates
  1. Updated page to reflect that the pilot has now closed and provide a list of successful applicants.

  2. Updated stage 2 application form for round 3.

  3. Guidance updated and deadline for the first application stage extended.

  4. Updated when colleges will be informed of round 2 stage 2 outcomes.

  5. Updated guidance about the third, and final, round of funding applications and linked to pilot research report.

  6. Updated guidance for round 2 of the SCIF application process and the stage 1 and stage 2 applications forms.

  7. Added the documents 'SCIF stage 2 application form', 'SCIF stage 2 assessment criteria' and 'SCIF stage 2 specific activities and risks'.

  8. First published.