Condition Improvement Fund (CIF)

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Capital funding is available for academies, sixth-form colleges and non-diocesan voluntary aided (VA) schools in England to transform facilities, improve school buildings and create more good school places.



Fund ID: S41210 

Status: Open for Applications

Fund Information


Funding body: Department for Education (DfE)

Maximum value: Discretionary 

Application deadline:16/12/2021



The CIF replaces the Academies Capital Maintenance Fund (ACMF) for academies, and the Building Condition Improvement Fund (BCIF), for sixth-form colleges.


Objectives of Fund

The funding is intended to improve school buildings and expand academies and sixth-form colleges rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted .

CIF’s core priority is to support condition projects and the focus of the fund is to keep school and college buildings safe and in good working order. Most CIF funding aims to address building issues with significant consequences that revenue or Devolved Formula Capital (DFC) funding cannot meet. These include issues with poor building condition, building compliance, energy efficiency or health and safety.

The highest priority will be given to condition projects that address compliance and health and safety issues. These include fire protection systems, gas safety, electrical safety or emergency asbestos removal. Priority will then be given to projects that ensure weather tight buildings and continuous heating and water supply. CIF also supports a small proportion of expansion projects where Ofsted has rated the school either good or outstanding and which need to expand their existing facilities and/or floor space to either:

  • Increase the number of admissions in the main year of entry, or
  • Address overcrowding, including cases of recently approved age-range expansion and sixth form expansion.


Value Notes

An initial proposal can be submitted for works expected to cost more than £20,000 (for primary and special schools) and £50,000 (for Secondary, all through and sixth form colleges) for initial approval prior to further development and final approval at a later stage. The maximum project cost for all schools is £4 million.

In addition to grants, CIF Loans are available to applicants for all of part of the project costs.

CIF loans are offered at Public Works Loan Board rates of interest, the same rate that local authorities can access to invest in their schools.

Who Can Apply

To be eligible to apply for CIF funding, applicants must have been by 1 September 2021 either a:

  • Stand-alone academy
  • School in a multi-academy trust (MAT) with fewer than five schools or fewer than 3,000 pupils as counted in the Spring 2021 census or 2020/21 Individualised Learner Record (ILR)
  • Voluntary Aided (VA) school in a VA body or VA group with fewer than five schools or fewer than 3,000 pupils as counted in the Spring 2021 census or 2020/21 ILR
  • Sixth-form college
  • School with a signed academy order as of 1 September 2021 that the department expects will convert by 1 April 2022.

Applicants can submit up to two projects per academy or college, only one of which may be an expansion project.

Applications from free schools must confirm that the CIF project did not form part of the original free school project.

For the new round, CIF applications will be subject to new criteria which will favour bids from applicants with strong governance and good Financial management.



The following are not eligible for funding:

  • Retrospective costs.
  • Part-funding of proposed works within the application.
  • Information and communication technology (ICT) software, loose furniture, and equipment.

ICT hardware will not be eligible unless there is clear evidence that it is an integral part of the project. ICT infrastructure (cabling, wireless and switching) is only eligible when it is an integral part of a larger project.

Schools in large MATs and SCA VA bodies should not apply to CIF because they receive direct School Condition Allocations (SCA) instead.

Eligible Expenditure

There are three categories of CIF project: condition, condition with expansion and expansion.

Condition projects

These are to improve the condition of buildings, with no expansion of the gross internal floor area (GIFA).


Condition with expansion projects

These are to improve the condition of a school building where the GIFA of the new block is up to 10% larger than the previous block. The aim of the project must primarily be to address significant condition need.


Projects will be accepted in this category where the GIFA of the new block is larger than 10% of the existing GIFA, if the applicant can provide clear evidence that there is no other alternative to meeting area standards as defined by Building Bulletin 103 or 104. The evidence for the project need section of condition with expansion must focus on and demonstrate the condition need. Projects which add new functional areas or facilities, or wish to increase their published admittance number (PAN) must be submitted as Expansion applications.

Expansion projects

This is for additional places or to address overcrowding.

Applicants looking to expand must demonstrate that they are high performing and the GIFA of the new block must be more than 10% larger than the previous block or add functional areas or facilities. Evidence should be submitted that there is no other alternative to meeting area standards across the whole site, as defined by Building Bulletin 103 or 104.

Fully and partially selective schools that select on the basis of general academic ability, will not be eligible to apply to CIF for added places expansion project.

All projects must be complete by 31 March 2023. Larger projects may last up to two years but all projects must be completed by 31 March 2024.

Location England

How To Apply

Applications must be submitted on the CIF portal by the deadline of 16 December 2021.

Applicants will require access to the CIF portal to submit an application. New applicants must register for an account before 9 December 2021.

Useful documents & links

Useful Links   Condition Improvement Fund

Addresses and contacts

For further information on how to obtain this grant locally, please contact the following:

Education Funding Agency (EFA)
Education Funding Agency Tel: 0370 000 2288 Fax: 01928 794 248


Published: 05/11/2021
Audience: Headteachers School Business Managers
Contact: Darren Starkey

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