Targeted Basic Need Programme

Information on applications, sponsorship and funding for the Targeted Basic Need Programme.

This guidance was withdrawn on

The Targeted Basic Need programme formally closed in September 2015.

Targeted Basic Need Programme

On 18 July, the Minister of State for Schools announced details of capital funding of around £820m that will provide new, high quality school places in locations that need more school places.

This funding is sufficient to provide the 417,000 places we need by 2015. By September this year, we expect 190,000 extra places will have been created with more in the pipeline.

The Targeted Basic Need Programme will deliver around 74,000 new pupil places in 45 new schools and through the expansion of 333 outstanding and good schools. A full list of projects that will be funded is available and more details of the funding are provided in the written ministerial statement on GOV.UK.

How applications were assessed

The level of need was the main factor taken into account within the Targeted Basic Need Programme assessment, but other factors included how readily the project could be delivered, and how the local authority (LA) had used other capital funding to address basic need.

You can find further information about the Targeted Basic Need Programme, including conditions of funding, timetable and making an application, on GOV.UK.

Applications to expand existing schools were only considered for outstanding or good schools.

There is no appeal process for unsuccessful applications, as all bids were thoroughly scrutinised to find which ones best met the aims of the programme.

Changing the application after approval

We won’t normally consider requests to make changes as funding decisions have been made based upon the information that was provided in the application including the number of pupil places being provided.

If there are exceptional circumstances and you want to propose changes to an aspect of a successful application, then you should raise this as soon as possible by emailing

Targeted Basic Need and the free schools programme

The assessment process considered the overlap between free schools in the pipeline and applications for Targeted Basic Need funding. Future assessment of free school applications will take into account the provision created through the Targeted Basic Need Programme.

Expansion of schools

Targeted Basic Need will mean that more places will be available at popular and high quality local schools. In addition to having an outstanding or good Ofsted rating, successful expansion bids had to demonstrate a strong need to provide more places which would help address high levels of over subscription.

Finding and approving sponsors for new schools

Finding sponsors for new schools and timetable of activity

All new schools will be established as academies, and LAs with new schools must identify, and agree with the Secretary of State, a suitable sponsor to run the new school. The funding offer for new schools is provisional until a suitable sponsor has been agreed.

To support LAs in making quick progress, we have provided a timetable under the Targeted Basic Need Programme. For further information you can view the academy/free school presumption departmental advice and refer to the timetable set out in the annex.

The first step is to publish a specification by 2 August, inviting proposals to establish an academy. The caseworker will be the named contact throughout the academy presumption process. A caseworker from the Department for Education will be in touch with LAs shortly to explain the process in more detail.

In the meantime, please direct any queries to the academy presumption team at

In order to meet the timetable, LAs are expected to start the process to find a sponsor immediately. A list of approved sponsors is available.

LAs can also talk to their caseworker about the availability and suitability of sponsors in their area.

Getting a new sponsor approved

New sponsors will have to be assessed by the Department for Education through the normal sponsor approval route. The deadline for new sponsors to send their applications to the department is 6 September.

You can read more about applying to be an academy sponsor on GOV.UK.

LAs should make it clear when publishing their proposals that sponsors who are not known to the department will have to go through this process and will need to do so before submitting a formal proposal to the LA.

Proposals cannot go forward without a suitable sponsor. If this looks likely, EFA will work with the LA to find a suitable sponsor. If an LA has concerns that they might find it difficult to recruit good quality sponsors, they should contact their caseworker as early as possible.

School funding allocation and distribution

The EFA will write to LAs shortly to confirm details of the Targeted Basic Need Programme application and how much funding they will get.

Funding is based on the EFA contractors framework rates. The rates are formula driven and take account of baseline designs. This methodology is based on EFA analysis of costs on recent schemes and is also used in the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP).

The letter from EFA to the LA will:

  • outline which of its applications are successful and unsuccessful
  • identify the next steps for new schools
  • ask LAs to confirm for each successful project the proportion that is new build and the proportion that is refurbishment (so that EFA can allocate the correct level of funds as in the funding formulae)
  • ask LAs to confirm for each successful project the amount of funding it is providing where it has indicated in the application that it only required top-up funding
  • also ask LAs to forecast key milestones so that EFA can use this to forecast cash-flow. Where possible, EFA will match cash-flow with LA requirements but will clearly state this may not be possible due to the limitations in funding

Once the LA has provided this information, EFA will issue a follow up letter confirming funding and payment profile along with any funding conditions.

The funding covers building and site costs. It also covers abnormals, professional fees, fixtures, fittings and equipment (FF&E), ICT infrastructure, ICT hardware and technical adviser fees (including project management costs). The LA is responsible for funding all pre- and post-opening start-up costs.

LAs must provide any additional funding beyond that allocated under the Targeted Basic Need Programme. Confirmation of the commitment to provide any additional funding will be required from the S151 officer (generally the Borough Treasurer or Chief Financial Officer) in LAs with successful bids. We will not provide additional funding to cover S106 or S278 requirements.

Funding guaranteed under the Targeted Basic Need Programme is project specific and must only be used to deliver the project as outlined in the application.

Procurement and contracting

LAs should start procurement as soon as they receive a capital allocation.

For expansions, the capital being provided will be confirmed quickly.

For new builds, the capital being provided will be confirmed once the LA has made a recommendation to the Secretary of State and a proposal is approved. LAs must manage any associated risks by ensuring that they have the processes in place to receive quality proposals.

Procurement and contracting will need to be delivered by the LA. Project management funding is provided on a sliding scale in relation to the additional pupil places being provided by the approved project. The amount of project management funding being provided will be confirmed by EFA.

LAs are encouraged to consider all procurement routes and decide which is the most appropriate for them. The most appropriate route will be determined by the size of the project and the delivery timescales. Various frameworks exist which may be used including the EFA contractors framework (for larger projects), SCAPE and other local and regional frameworks.

Failure to meet the timetable

Targeted Basic Need funding is provided based on the information in the application and the delivery timetable agreed with EFA. If there is any anticipated slippage, then you should inform EFA using the contact information below as soon as possible. The programme does not allow for slippage and unspent funds may be taken back.

Contact details

EFA Targeted Basic Need Programme enquiries:

Academy presumption:

Published 11 March 2014