Education Funding Applications & Other Services

Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) and other types of Funding managed by Property Experts to check eligibility, bid preparation and successful application for your Educational Establishment.

The Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) is an annual bidding round for eligible academies, sixth-form colleges and non-diocesan VA schools to apply for capital improvement funding. The priority for the fund is to address significant condition need, keeping education provider buildings safe and in good working order. This includes funding projects to address health and safety issues, building compliance and poor building condition.

CIF also supports a small proportion of expansion projects. These are for academies, sixth-form colleges and non-diocesan VA schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted that can demonstrate a need to expand.


How Can Lancaster Maloney Help?


Lancaster Maloney are the experts in providing advice on funding options for all types of education projects and have a first-rate track record in securing Condition Improvement Funding structured for academies.

We are one of the UK’s most successful consultancies in this field.

Our dynamic team has a wide range of experience resulting in an exceptionally high success rate. We have secured over £100m of funding and achieved a consistent 90%+ success rate securing funding for Condition, Expansion and Urgent Works projects.

Please see below for more detail on our proven approach to successful funding, together with the benefits we could bring to you.

The Next Step

If you are considering submitting a bid for Condition Improvement Funding simply call us on 0161 477 3500 or use our contact page and register for a FREE no obligation assessment – we will let you know if other capital improvement funding routes are available.

Initial Assessment
  • Undertake a free CIF assessment
  • Initial review of your estate, identifying significant condition issues
  • Assess your buildings to determine their suitability and sufficiency
  • Review statutory and legislative compliance
  • Prepare an outline development plan
  • Identify capital investment requirements and provide detailed costs
  • Advise on the most suitable funding streams
  • Guide you on the best strategy for submission
  • Recommend prioritisation of works and those with the best chance of a successful funding outcome
  • Advise on grouping high-need projects across more than one academy site to promote strategic benefits and efficiency savings
Bid Preparation

Lancaster Maloney are industry leaders in providing advice on funding options for all types of education projects and have an excellent and established track-record in bidding and securing project funding.

Our unique expertise in preparing strong and well-evidenced bids has secured over £100m of funding for education providers, making us one of the UKs most successful education funding partners.

Lancaster Maloney have supported academies with their capital bids since their inception (Learning and Skills Act 2000) initially through ACMF and latterly through CIF. Over this ten-year period, we have built an industry leading reputation as a trusted bidding partner for establishments of all sizes.

Help and support in bid preparation is free of charge; you can vastly increase your chance of securing Condition Improvement Funding with full technical support and a professionally written bid.

Over the last ten years we have consistently achieved a 90%+ success rate, securing funding for Condition, Expansion and Urgent Works projects. This has been achieved by assigning qualified professionals to lead each bid and ensuring an unequivocal standard of professional evidence.

– no win, no fee, no catch –

Lancaster Maloney are paid on results; We do not charge for preparing funding applications. Our services are structured so that no fee is payable for the work we undertake in preparing each bid – giving a low-risk solution for those who want to apply for funding. If your bid is successful we would take the role of lead consultant to develop the design and assist you throughout the development process – this way we have a vested interest in putting together the strongest possible bid for your Academy. Our fees are below the limits set by the ESFA.  This is a proven formula and is reflected in our 90%+ success rate.

Naturally, we cannot give 100% guarantee of funding for your project – but we can guarantee giving you the best possible chance of a successful outcome.


We Structure Your Bid For Success


Preparing a credible CIF bid is both time-consuming and complex; ESFA requirements for supporting information and evidence are becoming increasingly onerous.

Lancaster Maloney guide schools through the entire process and take away the stress and strain, allowing you to concentrate on your core business – education.

As your funding partner we will work closely with you to help you clearly identify and prioritise your needs.  In the spirit of a true partnership approach, we will be completely open, honest and transparent about the condition of your estates and the likelihood of success of your bid. We will advise from the outset which project is best suited and ensure that your aspirations and CIF submissions are realistic.

Lancaster Maloney can quickly assess any proposed works and funding options and advise which School Capital Funding route to take – carrying out a full assessment to see if the proposed projects meet the application criteria.

Client feedback has identified a key differential from our competitors; we do not default to the commercially expedient path.  We are universally respected and acknowledged for listening to our clients.  Whilst we will advise on which schemes are more like to be successful, we pride ourselves on listening to schools’ priorities. Ultimately it is your bid; we do not coerce schools down a pre-determined route.  Our approach is to support you in submitting a bid that responds to your own particular priorities.

Your bid will be structured around the ESFA guidelines, supported with articulate and robust justification and the most comprehensive, industry-leading evidence. We ensure the bid exceeds CIF criteria – making it stand-out above competing bids and ensuring the best possible chance of success.

As your Funding Partner, Lancaster Maloney will be with you each step of the way from an initial assessment, through bid preparation and project delivery to operation of the finished asset.  

During the bid preparation we will: –

  • Write the entire bid, or support the Business Manager in writing the bid (as preferred
  • Produce specialist supporting evidence
  • Produce detailed proposals, feasibility studies and planning applications as required
  • Procure competitive tenders during the CIF bid stage
  • Provide you with a draft for comment and feedback before submission
  • Upload bids and supporting information in good time ahead of the submission deadline.
Project Management & Delivery

Once funding is secured we will: –

  • Manage the project delivery, our scope of services based on the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors model  appointment
  • Robustly manage the project ensuring delivery within the approved funding
  • Prepare and submit quarterly Monitoring Return via the ESFA portal
  • Prepare and submit funding profile change request and scope change request where necessary
  • Prepare completion returns
  • Provide year-end accounting summaries to support business managers’ accrued costs for year-end accounts
  • Helpdesk to provide support and advise on any queries.

Contact Page

We Check Your Eligibility For Other Types Of Funding
Overview - School Capital Funding

An overview of school capital funding, who it’s for and who is eligible.

Each year, the Department for Education allocates funding to help expand,  maintain and improve the condition of school buildings and grounds. 

The core funding sources for most providers are:

  • school condition allocations (SCA), allocated to eligible bodies responsible for maintaining school buildings
  • the condition improvement fund (CIF), a bidding round for single academy trusts, small multi-academy trusts (MATs), small voluntary aided (VA) bodies and sixth-form colleges
  • devolved formula capital (DFC), allocated to schools and other eligible institutions

There are various other funding programmes which are generally LA or DFE-led, these include:

  • Basic Need Funding
  • Priority School Building Programme
  • T-Level Funding
  • School Nurseries Capital Fund (SNCF)
  • Selective Schools Expansion Fund (SSEF)

Other one-off or irregular opportunities arise from time to time.  These are sometimes linked to one of the other funding sources above.  Examples are:

  • Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM)
  • Sports Funding (Sport England/Football Federation)
  • Healthy Pupils Capital Fund.

Schools may also be eligible for loans for capital projects, for example CIF loans and Salix loans (for certain energy efficiency works).

Urgent Capital Support may be available to some academies in exceptional circumstances.


Who Is Eligible For Funding?


School capital funding includes allocations for:

  • local authorities and local-authority-maintained schools, including maintained nursery schools
  • local voluntary-aided bodies and voluntary-aided schools
  • academies and large multi-academy trusts and sponsors
  • sixth-form colleges
  • special schools not maintained by the local authority
  • special post-16 institutions with eligible students

Eligibility for SCA and CIF

Schools and those responsible for school buildings receive condition funding through different routes depending on their size and type.

Local authorities (LAs), larger MATs and larger VA school bodies receive direct SCA to invest in priorities across the schools for which they are responsible.

To receive direct SCA, multi-academy trusts and VA bodies must meet both eligibility criteria below:

  • the trust or VA body must have 5 or more open schools at the start of September
  • those open schools (or their predecessor schools) must have had at least 3,000 pupils counted in the spring census

Single academy trusts, small multi-academy trusts (MATs), small VA bodies and sixth-form colleges apply to the Condition Improvement Fund CIF) instead of receiving an SCA. Bodies eligible to apply for CIF  are generally notified by the DfE in the autumn.

Devolved formula capital (DFC)

Devolved formula capital (DFC) grant is capital funding calculated on a formulaic basis for each educational establishment. It gives schools direct funding for the priority capital needs of its buildings and grounds and for investment in capital equipment including ICT.

All of the above institution types are eligible for devolved formula capital.

School Condition Allocation (SCA)

Local authorities (LAs), large Diocese, Multi-academy trusts (MATs) and some other groups of academy trusts with at least 5 academies and more than 3,000 pupils, receive a School Condition Allocation (SCA) to deploy strategically across their estate to address their priority maintenance needs.


We Are Here To Match Appropriate Funding To Your Needs


We provide specialised asset management services and strategic advice and support to LAs, Diocese, MATs, individual Academies and Schools.

Much of our work centres on supporting providers with strategic School Estates Management in accordance with the DfE’s Good Estate Management guidelines (GEMS). We work strategically with providers undertaking Estate Evaluation, preparing Strategic Masterplans and Premises Development Plans for individual schools and MATs. These reflect condition, suitability and sufficiency needs and we work closely with Schools to identify their priorities and provide strategic advice on funding options and procurement. We also advise providers on their legal responsibilities in terms of statutory compliance.

We manage a diverse range of construction services within four core areas of excellence covering all aspects of the asset life cycle:-

> Estate Strategy

> Project Funding

> Project Management & Delivery

> Facilities Management

As your strategic partner we would advise how to best use your SCA across your estate to enable the fund to go further. We will: –

  • Prepare Asset Management Plans including condition (5-years costed plan), suitability and sufficiency identify capital investment requirements and provide detailed costs
  • Prepare Estate Development Plans based on School Educational and Estate Vision to address your premises needs
  • Help providers to prioritise works based on a risk-based assessment – taking account of :-
  • Legal duties
  • Health & safety
  • Safeguarding
  • Impact on teaching & learning and/or operations
  • Likelihood of failure
  • Consequential impact
  • Available resources and other sources of funding
  • Advise on grouping high need projects across more than one site to promote strategic benefits and efficiency savings
  • Provide advice and support on securing other school capital funding streams
  • In terms of Project Management & Delivery we will Plan capital projects so providers can maximise their School Condition Allocation including procuring works and engage contractors early, ahead of CIF and other funding announcements.
  • Advise Trusts on their legal responsibilities in terms of statutory and legislative compliance helping them to understand which health and safety legislation and statutory requirements apply and the risks and implications of non-compliance.
Free No Obligation CIF Appeal Assessment

Unsuccessful CIF Application?


If your CIF bid is unsuccessful there is an appeals process open to schools and multi-academy trusts. You can appeal if you feel that the ESFA made a material error in your application assessment which resulted in the application not meeting the criteria for success. Unfortunately only information submitted as part of an original application can be considered as part of the appeals process, no new or additional information will be accepted.


We Will Thoroughly Check Your Previous Bid And Advise Of Any Material Error 


Lancaster Maloney will review the initial submission and supporting documentation against the feedback and score and advise if the ESFA have made a material error in your application assessment which resulted in the application not meeting the criteria for success. We will be completely open, honest and transparent about the likelihood of success of an appeal.

Your appeal will target the ESFA guidelines and we will articulate the most robust and persuasive argument and justification possible for appeal.

Free no-obligation CIF Appeal Assessment

If you have been unsuccessful with your CIF bid you feel that the ESFA made a material error in your application assessment simply call us on 0161 477 3500 or use our contact page and request a FREE no obligation CIF Appeal Assessment – we will let you know if you are eligible to appeal and how Lancaster Maloney can help.

Funding To Improve Or Promote Energy Efficiency

Providers have several options available in terms of funding works to improve or promote energy efficiency

Funding is available for individual schools and academies, sixth form colleges, free schools and Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) to significantly reduce energy costs and improve the learning environment for both staff and pupil by creating  a more comfortable learning environment through the installation of energy efficiency technologies.

Funding is through Salix (link?) in partnership with the Department for Education (DfE), via either a Salix Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme (SEELS) or a Salix Energy Efficiency Fund (SEEF). Academies can also apply for energy efficiency loans for condition improvements works that will lead to annual energy savings. These loans known as Salix loans are only available through the CIF funding application process.

There is no upfront cost – the interest-free loan is repaid with the predicted energy savings and Salix has Secretary of State approval for all maintained schools and colleges to take up Salix loans.

In addition to the above, Purchase Power Agreements (PPA) are available for technologies such as Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) schemes.

This approach helps ensure education establishments embed the principle of energy efficiency in their long-term maintenance and business planning, freeing up funds to invest in their core priorities.


How Do You Promote Energy Efficiency?


Lancaster Maloney are Licensed Energy Assessors.  Combined with our educational building and funding expertise, this puts us in a unique position to maximise your potential for a successful application.  Our in-house energy and environmental specialists are able to: – 

  • Undertake a Free assessment including an initial review of your estate;
  • identify capital investment requirements and provide capital costs and professionally modelled annual savings and pay-back period;
  • Advise on the most suitable funding stream;
  • Write the entire bid, or support the Business Managers in writing the bid (as preferred);
  • Produce specialist supporting evidence;
  • Manage project delivery on site.

The next step

If you are looking to reduce your energy costs and improve your learning environment through the installation of energy efficiency technologies simply call us on 0161 477 3500 or use our contact page to get in touch

Urgent Capital Support (UCS)

Urgent Capital Support (UCS) is for academies, sixth-form colleges and non-diocesan VA schools which do not have access to a SCA  and require funding assistance to address urgent building condition issues that either put the safety of pupils and staff at risk, or threaten the closure of the whole, or a significant part of, the school.

Applications can only be considered from institutions outside of the main round where there is a genuine and immediate need for urgent support that cannot wait until the next round.

Examples Urgent Capital Support issues

  • significant health and safety risk in relation to the building condition
  • condition issue that have already resulted in, or represents an imminent threat of school closure
  • condition issue that have resulted in or risks imminent closure of a significant part of the school building which would prevent the curriculum from being delivered
  • urgent works cannot be funded by the trust independently or through a CIF loan

Condition issues that may be in scope for funding include structural issues; urgent health and safety (H&S) or insurance compliance issues; urgent asbestos issue; fire protection; leaking roofs; boiler and pipework failure and electrical issues


Our team of experts can help by : –


  • Undertake a Free UCS assessment including an initial review of your estate,
  • Write the entire bid, or support the Business Managers in writing the bid (as preferred);
  • Produce specialist supporting evidence
  • Manage the project delivery on site


We have all your property matters covered from inception to completion, utilising when required other Legal and Professional Services. 

We are based in the North West of England and deliver projects across all UK Counties. The nearest to us are :- Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cheshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Staffordshire

Legal & Professional

Party Wall Matters (Party Wall etc Act 1996)
Pre-acquisition Surveys
Highways and Sewerage Adoption Agreements
Expert Witness
Right to light
Boundary Disputes
Disabled Access Audits
Access to neighbouring land (Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992)
Neighbourly matters

Project Management

Establishing Project Objectives and Develop Brief
Option Appraisal and Feasibility Studies
Risk Analysis and Risk Management Services
Detailed Programme and Budget Planning
Project Team Selection
Project Execution and Communications Planning
Procurement Strategy
Change Control Systems
Value Analysis & Engineering
Co-ordination of Legal and Other Consents
Tender Evaluation & Contractor Selection
Time, Cost and Quality Control Systems
Control, Monitoring and Reporting up to Project Completion
Post Project Evaluation

Other Services

Lancaster Maloney also provide the following services:

Cost control
Life cycle costing
Development monitoring
SDS Compliance Auditing
SAP Assessments
HQI Assessments
Employer Agent


Equitas House, Unit 6 Station View,
Rhino Court, Stockport, Greater Manchester, SK7 5ER
T: 0161 477 3500
F: 0161 477 3600

Contact Form