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What Can Post-16 Capacity Funding be Used For?

Education funding is constantly evolving and fortunately for 16-19 providers, new initiatives and funding opportunities are being introduced to the sector. Government funding is essential for lots of educational institutions as it allows them to invest in meaningful changes that would otherwise be unaffordable. The available funding streams can be used to improve the learning environment and enhance the educational experience for students.

Now more than ever, higher education funding is crucial due to the rising costs of products and services. Many organisations in the education sector are struggling with income generation too and they are reliant on government funding programmes to help them maintain their environment for learners. Not to mention, the demographic increase of learners is problematic for many sixth form colleges and Post-16 Capacity Funding has become a popular source of funding to make improvements to learning environments. 

For anyone unaware of what Post-16 Capacity Funding is, we have explored who this type of funding can benefit and what it can be used for. 


What is Post-16 Capacity Funding?

Post-16 Capacity Funding is designed for education providers to help them accommodate the demographic increases in 16 to 19-year-olds. The government has provided additional capital investment to ensure that there are suitably sized learning spaces for students aged 16-19 and can offer additional places for applicants. 

This type of funding is available to a range of post-16 institutions, including; 

  • Sixth Form Colleges
  • Further Education Colleges
  • 16-19 Academies
  • Maintained Schools
  • Free Schools
  • University Technical Colleges (UTCs)

Eligible institutions are required to submit bids for Post-16 Capacity Funding through the online Department for Education (DfE) eTendering Portal. All bids are then assessed and marked by the DfE, and the proposed projects that score the highest are awarded funding. Typically, the DfE will favour bids from applicants that demonstrate the greatest need for additional capacity. Things such as project planning and value for money will also be taken into consideration when determining which further education institutions will receive funding.


How Can Post-16 Capacity Funding be Used?

There are a few different ways that Post-16 Capacity Funding can be used, however, it’s specifically designed to help education providers create additional space for the increased numbers of learners in their local area. The main two types of building works that are eligible for this type of funding are stated in the Gov Guidance for Applicants and are as follows;

  • Increase the overall gross internal floor area (GIFA) of learning space and associated functional areas or facilities.
  • Reconfigure the estate within the existing GIFA to accommodate more learners.

There are also some projects listed in the Guidance for Applicants that aren’t eligible for this type of funding, including; 

  • Projects which are not primarily concerned with provision for additional learners as a direct result of the demographic increase in 16-19 learners. 
  • Purchase of land, except in exceptional circumstances where there is a strong value for money justification.
  • Estate expansion already being addressed through other local and central government grant funding.

When applying for funding, proposed projects must increase the capacity of the estate to accommodate 30 additional learners ages 16-19 as a minimum. It’s also crucially important that all projects are realistic and achievable, and the more detail you can provide about the planning, preparation and construction the more likely your bid is to be successful. 

Any work involved with the project must also be deliverable by the end of the following August to support the demand for learner places in September. There are minimum and maximum thresholds to be aware of when applying for the Post-16 Capacity Fund too. The minimum value of applications is £200,000, excluding ineligible expenditure, and the maximum is £4,000,000. 


Obtaining Post-16 Capacity Funding

As touched on above, you need to submit bids for Post-16 Capacity Funding on the DfE eTendering Portal. There are some key dates to put in your diary to ensure you don’t miss the next funding deadlines;

  • Application Window Opens: September 2023
  • Submission Deadline: November 2023
  • Outcome: Spring 2024

Due to the extensive design work needed for Post-16 Capacity Funding applications, it’s advisable to start working on your bids now. Although you can complete the application yourself, to increase the likelihood of your bid being successful, it’s beneficial to use an experienced technical adviser or representative. Our team of highly skilled funding experts at Barker can help you to prepare your application and over the years, we have successfully secured millions of pounds in funding for our clients. 

Bidding for any available funding streams is extremely competitive and we have the right infrastructure to help you to stand out. We have unrivalled experience securing funding from various streams and we use Association of Proposal Management Professional (APMP) bid writers with construction knowledge to increase your chances of securing the funding needed for your projects. We can take the pressure of creating an application that meets the marking criteria off of your shoulders and you can focus on other elements of your role. 

Our services don’t stop when funding is granted. We can help you to create inspirational places to learn and project manage any changes made using Post-16 Capacity Funding. We offer a seamless, end-to-end service and can deliver your vision with the funding granted. As the UK’s leading education property consultants, we understand the ins and outs of project management in this sector. We will ensure that your estate is ready to welcome new learners in September and you have the additional space you need to teach. 


Find Out More About HE Funding 

If you have any questions about Post-16 Capacity Funding or any other higher education funding streams you’ve come across, don’t hesitate to contact us at Barker. Complete the contact form on our website and we will get back to you as soon as possible. We’re always happy to discuss funding for schools, academies, colleges and universities.

You can view some of our previous projects and case studies on our website too if you’d like to find out more about working with Barker to improve your educational institution. 

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