Capital funding for academy trusts is in short and sharp supply. Every academy school receives an annual allocation (Devolved Formula Capital) but this is simply designed for maintenance of buildings and small capital projects.
Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) with over 5 schools and 3,000 pupils are lucky enough to receive the School Condition Allowance (SCA) but this has to be used across the entire Trust estate allowing MATs to decide how best to allocate the funding. Therefore should an urgent issue arise, the funding may not be available if already utilised or allocated.
Finally, Trusts who are not applicable for the SCA are allowed to bid for the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) but this can be very competitive and the funding is only available once every year (should you be successful with your bid) and therefore not to be used for urgent issues.
Thankfully there is some additional capital funding available called Urgent Capital Support (UCS) fund. This will help those schools which are left with a school estate that is not meeting statutory requirements, is not fit for purpose and cannot wait until the next CIF bidding round.
However, the UCS is not available to those schools who have access to SCA monies. It is expected the MAT will manage these funds and provide emergency support if required.
To be eligible to apply for UCS, your application will need to show:
- A significant health and safety risk
- The condition has already, or represents an imminent threat of school closure
- The condition has resulted in or risks imminent closure of a significant part of the school that would prevent the curriculum from being delivered
- The works cannot be funded by the trust independently or through a CIF loan
Examples of the types of work that may be in scope include:
- structural issues
- urgent health and safety (H&S) or insurance compliance issues
- urgent asbestos issue fire protection
- leaking roofs
- boiler and pipework failure
- electrical issues
If your school has an issue that meets the above criteria then you should consider applying for UCS funding. More details of which can be found here.
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