Synergy News & Blog: News

Is your School missing out on CIF funding?

Is your School missing out on CIF funding?

In 2017 the National Audit Office reported that overall, the condition of the school estate is declining despite the planned investment. They highlighted that around 38% of school buildings are beyond their estimated initial design life. In 2020, the DfE used CDC1 data to estimate that the condition need of the whole school estate in England was £11.4 billion. This total does not include the cost of rectifying structural or asbestos related issues.

The National Audit Office also reported that schools in smaller academy trusts may be missing out on essential CIF funding to address maintenance and repair issues.

The schools which qualify for CIF funding are:

  • Stand-alone academies
  • Schools in a multi-academy trust (MAT) with fewer than 5 schools or fewer than 3,000 pupils
  • Voluntary Aided (VA) school in a VA body or VA group with fewer than 5 schools or fewer than 3,000 pupils
  • Sixth-form colleges

According to the National Audit Office of the 2,493 schools eligible for CIF every year between 2016-17 and 2022-23, one-quarter made more than 10 applications while 15% (368 schools) made no applications at all.

In 2021, the DfE analysed why schools most needing maintenance had not applied. The reasons were:

  • Some schools assessed their buildings to be in a good condition.
  • Others lacked the capacity to apply.
  • A small number of schools were not aware of this funding.

Applying to the Condition Improvement Fund can be quite a detailed process which is why utilising the services of an expert CIF bid Consultant to put together the bid(s) for you can be of great assistance to academy trusts.

At Synergy, we have a team of experienced surveyors, funding specialists and skilled bid writers who are skilled in preparing high quality, winning bids, with over £140m CIF funding secured to date.

We often undertake CIF bid preparation free of charge giving a low-risk option to academies who want to apply for funding but do not have the time or technical knowledge to develop their own bids.

Our team has secured funding for many essential projects, including building safety matters, fire safety improvements, boiler replacements, electrical safety matters, roof replacements, ventilation and thermal comfort improvements, window replacements and security and safeguarding improvements.

In addition, we have supported schools with overcrowding and expansion funding applications including one of only three expansion projects awarded in England last year for a new sports hall scheme in Hertfordshire.

Once the funds are secured, we will manage the project for you from start to finish.

The next round of funding for the 2024 – 25 academic year is due to open in the autumn term. Whilst the deadlines have not yet been released, the earlier a consultant such as Synergy is involved the better and the sooner, we can help you to collect the key evidence to support your bids.

If you would like assistance with a CIF bid/s do not delay. Due to increasing demand Synergy now cap the number of bids we take on, please contact our CIF bid team Coordinator Jenny Howard on to find out more as soon as possible.

National Audit Office/DfE Information Source:

National Audit Office Report ‘Condition of School Buildings’ for the DfE, 28 June 2023 – Condition of school buildings (

Posted on 13/9/2023

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