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What Schools Need to Know About Funding Eligibility

Schools play a crucial role in shaping the future of the next generation and to create the best environments for learning, they need significant funding. A quality education isn’t just reliant on skilled teachers and a good curriculum, although this is important, the physical environment is also key. A well-maintained estate that is fully equipped with everything needed to provide inspiring lessons can enhance the student experience. It can have a positive impact on things such as concentration and motivation as well as overall well-being.

Despite the government announcement that schools will get an extra £2 billion of revenue funding in 2023-24 and the same again in 2024-25, this basic funding often falls short of what’s actually needed. Many schools, academies, colleges and universities across the UK are heavily reliant on additional funding to maintain their estates. 

Fortunately, there are several capital funding streams available for schools. Yet, many estate management teams find themselves either unaware of key funding rounds or uncertain whether they are eligible to apply for them. This lack of awareness can lead to missed opportunities and make it harder to maintain learning environments. 

Learning more about the available funding streams can help education institutions optimise the resources available to them and continue to provide nurturing spaces for students. 


Key Funding Streams for Schools

In the ever-evolving education sector, funding opportunities are continually being introduced and adapted to support schools. Keeping up-to-date with these changes is key to getting the funding you need. At Barker, we stay on top of the dynamic funding landscape so you don’t have to. We provide regular education funding updates and by signing up for our Education Estates Newsletter here, you can learn more about the various funding streams available. 

When you’re aware of the latest changes in the funding landscape, you can ensure you’re well-informed and well-positioned to take advantage of any new funding opportunities. As a brief overview, here is a list of the key funding rounds for schools, academies, colleges and universities in the UK; 

  • Condition Improvement Fund
  • School Condition Allocation
  • Energy Efficiency Funding
  • Post 16 Capacity Fund
  • T Level Capital Fund
  • Further Education Capital Transformation Fund
  • Urgent Capital Support
  • Local Control Voluntary Aided Programme (LCVAP)
  • Basic Need

Navigating the complicated landscape of education funding isn’t easy, especially because each type of funding has different eligibility requirements. This means that not every school or college will be able to apply for every funding round. 

An education property consultancy like Barker can provide you with more information about each funding stream that’s suitable for your estate. By evaluating the specific needs and goals of your maintenance, improvement or expansion projects, funding experts can help identify the most appropriate funding solutions. We use our expertise to ensure that education institutions aren’t missing out on funding opportunities and are focusing their time and efforts on preparing winning bids for the funding options that are best suited to their unique circumstances.


Frequently Asked Questions About Education Funding

Lots of schools, academies, colleges and universities come to our funding experts with the same questions, wanting to learn more about government funding for education and their eligibility to bid for additional funding. To give you more of an insight into education funding, below we have answered some FAQs; 

Do all schools get the same funding in the UK?

In short, the answer to this question is no. Core funding in the UK education system varies from one school to another. Factors such as the geographic location of the school and how many pupils receive free school meals will influence the amount of funding received. The NFF (National Funding Formula) is used by the government to decide how much core funding to allocate to each local authority for state-funded schools in England. Local authorities also have their own formula to divide allocated funding between all the schools in their area.

However, many are calling for changes to this system to ensure funding allocation is completely fair throughout England. Since the government provides funding to local authorities and they are then responsible for distributing this funding, not all schools will receive the amount of funding the NFF dictates they should get. Suggested changes to this process involve preventing local authorities from using their own formulas and funding being directly allocated using the NFF, ensuring that funding is better matched to the needs of schools.

How do you get government funding for education?

All state-funded schools get their funding from the government, whereas independent and private schools have to raise their own funding, often through student fees. State-funded schools will automatically receive two main streams of funding; revenue funding and capital funding. This funding will be allocated as mentioned above. 

In addition to this core funding, schools can apply for additional funding grants for particular projects or needs. This is where Barker can help. As an education funding advisor, we can help you explore the funding channels available and bid for additional funding from the government.

Can you apply for any education funding stream?

As touched on above, not all education institutions are eligible to apply for every funding stream. Eligibility depends on various factors such as the type of institution, the specific project, the location of the estate and other criteria defined by the Department for Education (DfE). You can access the eligibility criteria for different types of funding online and a funding expert can provide you with additional tailored advice too. 

How do you know which projects are covered by government funding?

Information about government funding for education can be found on the government website. You can learn more about which types of projects are covered by the different funding rounds. Each funding stream will have specific guidelines and criteria that outline the eligible projects. 

It can be difficult to navigate the world of additional funding though and there is a lot to get your head around. It’s often much more efficient to speak to a funding expert about the projects you’re interested in and they can help you to determine which types of funding are most appropriate for your projects. 

How can you increase school funding?

Aside from utilising the different funding streams available from the government, there are a few ways you can increase funding and many education institutions are having to think outside the box to make ends meet. For instance, you could host fundraisers or hire out spaces when they’re not in use. Unfortunately, funding is a big problem across the whole education sector and many are having to generate additional income to cover essential costs. 

Can schools get funding for solar panels and other energy efficiency projects?

Yes, there are funding streams available specifically for energy efficiency projects, including solar panels. Pressure is being placed on all sectors to reduce their carbon footprint in an attempt to help the UK government meet their net zero target by 2050. This can be beneficial for schools as more money is being allocated for them to spend on energy efficiency upgrades. 

Not only can energy efficiency projects benefit the environment, but they can have a positive impact on an estate’s utility bills. Becoming more environmentally sustainable can reduce monthly overheads and it’s beneficial to explore the different energy-efficiency funding options available. This is something else we can assist you with at Barker. 

How do schools get funding for technology?

Funding that’s specifically for technology in schools can be sourced in various ways. This typically includes government grants and schemes that are aimed at enhancing technological infrastructure and improving digital education. By identifying and applying for these particular funding opportunities, you can secure the funds you need to integrate new technology or upgrade the existing technology in your learning environment. 

Is funding available for Further Education and Higher Education estates?

Similarly to schools, Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) providers are also reliant on additional funding to create high-quality learning spaces. There are government funding streams available to help improve infrastructure, technology and facilities across estates. For example, funding streams like the Post 16 Capacity Fund and T Level Capital Fund are specifically designed for FE and HE institutions. 

The availability of funding can vary depending on several factors and you will typically need to bid for the funding you need. It’s advisable to stay up-to-date on funding schemes and application deadlines to make the most of the financial support available.

Knowing Which Type of Funding to Bid For

When it comes to getting additional funding for your school, the funding rounds you can apply or bid for will vary widely depending on the nature of the projects you want to undertake. Whether it’s an expansion, maintenance or repairs, different funding channels are tailored to meet these distinctive needs. Understanding the unique details of your project is essential and will help you choose the most appropriate funding stream. 

Researching government funding options is key to securing funding for your estate. Learning more about the different options available and assessing their alignment with your projects can prevent you from wasting your time with unsuitable funding rounds. However, the world of funding eligibility can be complex and confusing. It’s an area where professional advice can be very beneficial. Experts can evaluate the broad spectrum of funding opportunities and recommend the best approach for your school’s needs. 

Our team at Barker can provide insights and guidance that will streamline the funding process, saving time and hassle. We can ensure you’re investing resources into funding applications that are most likely to be successful and help you to take full advantage of the funding available, enabling you to improve the learning environment for your students. 

Applying for Government Funding in Education

Hopefully, this information will be beneficial if you’re trying to get more funding for your school. Should you have any questions about government funding for education or how to apply for specific grants, don’t hesitate to contact our experts at Barker today. We provide support to schools, colleges and universities throughout the UK when they’re trying to obtain government funding to create the best environments for learning.

From providing insights into different funding opportunities to assisting with bid writing for funding, our team offers a comprehensive solution for schools. We live and breathe education, and have unrivalled experience in this sector. We have the right infrastructure to help with bidding for funding and your estate will be in the best hands with our team. 

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