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Funds and freebies: monthly highlights
See the latest deadlines for funding opportunities. You can also find a selection of the grants available to schools across a range of areas, and details of freebies you can access.
Deadlines in March
BBC Children in Need - there are 2 grants available:
- Small grants for up to £10,000 a year for 3 years - deadlines are 16 March and 2 December
- Main grants for more than £10,000 a year for 3 years - deadline is 4 May
The Institute of Engineering and Technology has a grant scheme for UK-based educational projects that support the increase of engineering knowledge among young people aged 5 to 19. There are 2 levels of funding available: awards of up to £5,000 for standard applications, and a small number of awards of up to £15,000 for projects that aim to make a bigger impact. There are 2 deadlines this year: 27 March and 19 October.
The Daiwa Foundation provides grants of £2,000 to £7,000 to promote and support interaction between the UK and Japan. There are 2 application deadlines each year: 31 March and 30 September. The foundation encourages applicants to submit their application as early as possible.
DfE-approved buying frameworks for schools
You can access these frameworks to help your school get value for money. They now span several categories, including:
- Books and materials
- Energy and utilities
- Recruitment and HR
- Legal services
- Facilities management and estates
Maintained schools will be able to buy in to the risk protection arrangement (RPA) from mid-March
The RPA is an alternative to commercial insurance for academy trusts provided by the DfE, which maintained schools will now be able to access from March.
Read more about the RPA and how you can access it.
Further bursaries and funding opportunities
Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)
The Armourers and Brasiers' Company provides grants to primary and secondary schools to promote science. Primary schools can apply for a £600 grant. Secondary schools can apply for a £1,000 grant. Applications should be open after 19 April 2020.
The Waterloo Foundation supports schools in Wales helping to increase STEM skills. It awards grants between £5,000 and £25,000. There is no deadline.
The Microbiology Society has announced grants of up to £1,000 to schools to support relevant science teaching or promotion initiatives, or to support developments likely to lead to an improvement in the teaching of any aspect of microbiology. Applications are only open to members of the society, so check if any of your staff are members first. The deadlines are 8 April and 1 October.
The London Mathematical Society has grants of up to £400 available to support maths teachers' attendance at 1 or 2-day conferences and events. The grant can also be used to cover the cost of external trainers visiting schools. The next application deadline is 30 April (with 3 other deadlines each year: 31 January, 30 November and 31 August).
The Ironmongers’ Foundation supports initiatives that encourage talented young people to study science subjects at school and go on to pursue engineering-related further education or vocational training. There are 3 deadlines each year: 1 April, 1 August, and 1 December.
Royal Society of Chemistry funds small educational projects in schools. Themes for the projects are about enhancing the learning and teaching of chemistry through buying equipment and running chemistry clubs. The society is encouraging projects that bring together schools, colleges and universities. The next deadline is 15 May (with 2 other deadlines throughout the year: 15 February and 15 August).
The Institute of Physics provides grants of up to £600 for schools and colleges to promote physics. Application deadlines depend on when your school would like to run the project. The deadlines are 1 February, 1 June and 1 November.
Modern foreign languages
State-funded secondary schools that teach Mandarin can apply to the Institute of Education's Mandarin Excellence Programme for funding to support developing the school into a centre of excellence for the teaching of Mandarin. Schools that participate receive at least £20,000 each year they recruit and keep pupils in the programme. Applications are now open for schools looking to join the programme from September 2020.
UK-German Connection has funding available to UK schools that have a partnership with a German school. Funding streams are available for work-focused programmes, project-based programmes, and visits. This is currently closed, but more details about funding will be available soon.
Religious education (RE)
The Allchurches Trust awards grants designed to benefit Christian communities, supporting projects that help people reach their potential and address social needs. Small grants are from £1,000 up to £15,000. Applications are considered at any time.
The Jerusalem Trust supports the teaching of Christianity within RE by awarding grants of up to £600 to state-funded secondary schools. Applications are now open for the spring term.
Music, heritage and crafts grants
Music for All receives applications for individual grants and community project funding. There are 3 application deadlines per year: 1 February, 1 July and 1 November.
The Radcliffe Trust offers grants principally in 2 sectors: music, and heritage and crafts. Grants generally have a value of between £2,500 and £7,500. There are two deadlines each year: 31 January and 31 July.
The Teacher Development Fund from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation aims to support primary school arts-based teaching. It expects to offer around 6 grants of up to £150,000 each year to partnerships between arts/cultural organisations and schools. Applications will open in autumn 2020.
The Universal Music UK Sound Foundation award scheme supports schools to purchase musical instruments and equipment, and funds training opportunities for music teachers. Grants of up to £1,500 are available. This is currently closed, but the next round of funding will take place in October 2020.
A number of grants are available to schools from Sport England. You can find these here.
The Football Foundation offers grants for a range of improvements and equipment for football pitches.
The Royal Geographical Society makes two £1,000 grants each year to secondary school geography teachers. Teachers must be working with a university collaborator. Applications close on 15 February.
Magic Breakfast is delivering the government's National School Breakfast Programme. If your school is in a disadvantaged area and meets the eligibility criteria, you can apply for support to start or improve your breakfast provision. Funding is available on a first come, first served basis. Applications are now open.
The breakfast club programme run by the Greggs Foundation is open to all primary schools in England and Wales that meet the following criteria (there's a waiting list for new clubs but there's no application deadline):
- At least 40% of pupils at the school are eligible for free school meals
- The school can demonstrate a commitment to engaging parents or other volunteers
- The breakfast club will be offered for free to ensure all pupils can attend
Kellogg's breakfast club grants programme offers grants of up to £1,000 to schools in the UK to set up breakfast clubs for those children in most need. Applications are now open.
General educational projects
The Wolfson Foundation awards grants to state-funded secondary schools and sixth-form colleges for:
- New build, refurbishment or equipment projects related to the teaching of science and technology
- Information or communication technology for projects involving libraries, languages, music or arts
The minimum grant amount is £15,000 and grants don't normally exceed £100,000. There are 2 deadlines a year for the first stage of the application process: 1 May and 1 December.
The Garfield Weston Foundation awards grants to educational projects. The foundation also supports arts, community, welfare, youth and environmental projects. Its 'regular grants' are for applications below £100,000, and its 'major grants' are for applications of £100,000 or more. Applications are accepted at any time.
National Lottery Awards for All offers funding from £300 to £10,000 to support projects that:
- Shape the places and spaces that matter to communities
- Bring more people together and build strong relationships in and across communities
- Enable more people to fulfil their potential by working to address issues at the earliest possible stage
Funding is also available for larger projects that are over £10,000. Applications are accepted at any time.
Blue Spark Foundation offers grants of under £5,000 for projects that would help the education and development of children. Applications are accepted at any time. Grants have been given for:
- Physical assets (e.g. tablets, sports equipment, or lighting for stage productions)
- Services or facilities (e.g. sports coaching or music/drama tuition)
- Experiences (e.g. theatre visits)
The Foyle Foundation offers grants to state-funded schools to purchase reading books for libraries. It may also contribute towards the costs of library software, IT equipment and furniture. The value of grants generally ranges between £1,000 and £10,000. Applications are accepted at any time.
Arts Council England's National Lottery Project Grants are for organisations who use the arts in their work. Awards range from £1,000 to £100,000. There are no deadlines.
The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies committee gives grants from £50 to £600 to schools promoting the teaching of Latin and Roman studies. Grants are mainly for purchasing textbooks and resources, but they can also be for study days, especially if they benefit large numbers of children throughout the year. There are 3 deadlines per year: 1 February, 1 July and 1 November.
The UK Community Foundations website has details and links to the 46 accredited community foundations in the UK, each of which has funding streams available that target particular issues in their geographical area.
The Big Lottery Fund's Reaching Communities England programme funds community improvement projects. It offers grants of over £10,000 for up to 5 years. Applications can be submitted at any time.
One Stop has a Carriers for Causes programme that awards grants of up to £500 for projects that benefit local communities. The project must be within 2 miles of a One Stop shop to qualify. Click on the map to see if there's a shop near your school. Applications can be submitted at any time.
Ford Britain Trust awards grants for projects that focus on education, environment, children, people with disabilities and projects that benefit local communities. The deadline for:
- Small grants, of up to £250, is 29 February
- Large grants, of between £250 and £3,000, is 31 January
The Metropolitan Public Gardens Association gives grants and practical assistance to community gardens and green sites across London. Each case is considered on its merits.The deadlines are at the end May, August, November and February.
The Tree Council UK is funding projects between £300 and £1,000 for planting trees and hedgerows. Successful applicants will receive up to 80% of their planting costs. Applications are currently closed, but the grant scheme will reopen in early 2020.
The Naturesave Trust considers applications for environmental projects that specifically address the promotion and implementation of sustainable development, environmental improvement and general 'green' issues. There are no deadlines for applications and there's no limit on the number of applications that can be made.
The Nineveh Charitable Trust offers grants to schools and other organisations for UK-based projects with an emphasis on promoting a better understanding of the countryside. Schools have applied for outdoor learning projects and school gardening developments with awards between £1,000 and £20,000. There are no deadlines for applications but these are discussed at the trustees' quarterly meetings.
The Local Schools Nature Grants Scheme allows schools to apply for £500 worth of outdoor resources, and a 2-hour training session. The scheme does not give cash grants to schools. You select equipment and training at the application stage. There are usually 4 deadlines throughout the year; these will be released in 2020.
Grow Your Own Potatoes, a project aiming to teach primary school pupils about potatoes, offers free potato growing kits to schools that register. Registration for 2021 is currently open.
Greener City Fund is provided by the Mayor of London. Grants of £5,000 to £50,000 are available to support two strands of projects: Community Tree Planting and Community Green Space improvements. Applications are currently closed.
Grants for disadvantaged children
Schools supporting children who are disabled or disadvantaged can apply for grants from Cash for Kids, typically at a value from £1,000 to £3,000. Funding is awarded on a local basis across 22 areas in the UK. Contact details for each area are available from the link.
BBC Children in Need - emergency essentials programme is for children and young people who are facing exceptionally difficult circumstances. It's delivered by Family Fund Business Services, on behalf of the BBC. Applications can be submitted at any time.
The Henry Smith Charity runs a holiday grants programme that aims to provide access to recreational trips or holidays for groups of children aged 13 or under who experience disadvantage or who have disabilities. The charity awards grant amounts of between £500 and £2,500. There are 4 rounds of applications each year and you need to apply at least 6 weeks before your trip.
Happy Days Children's Charity has funding available for day trips and group activity holidays aimed at children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
The YHA's educational breaks programme can give support to groups where children or young people are eligible for the pupil premium and are facing social challenges. Groups can apply for support for up to half the cost of the programme for a maximum of 10 pupils. Applications are currently closed.
British Council international exchanges for schools in England - travel grants for up to £15,000 are now available for secondary schools in England to take pupils on international school visits. Applications are currently open.
Children with special educational needs and disabilities
The Clothworkers’ Foundation offers capital funding for special schools that cater exclusively for pupils with physical and/or learning difficulties. Grants can be used for building renovations, or to purchase fixtures, fittings, equipment or vehicles. Applications can be submitted at any time.
Variety, a children's charity, offers grants up to around £6,000 for specialist equipment that will directly benefit or support children with disabilities. Applications can be submitted at any time but there is a limit of one application per year.
Special schools and colleges can apply to The Wolfson Foundation for capital funding for building refurbishments, new buildings and equipment. Grants vary from £15,000 to £75,000. The next application deadline is 1 July.
Founders4Schools is a free service that helps schools to arrange for founders of successful businesses to visit their schools and inspire their students.
You can use the website to search for founders of successful businesses in your area and invite them to speak to pupils.
Talks from leading figures
Speakers for Schools offers secondary state schools the chance to apply to host a talk from an individual who has been successful in a particular field. All UK secondary state schools are eligible to apply.
All state-funded schools in England are eligible to set up an Into Film Club to gain access to thousands of free films available for after-school clubs.
Entrance to English Heritage properties
English Heritage allows schools to book a free self-led visit to one of its 400+ properties.
Pizza Express offers free visits to its restaurants for primary school classes, giving pupils the chance to learn about cooking and different ingredients, as well as to make a pizza.
The Dogs Trust offers free workshops linked to the National Curriculum for both primary and secondary pupils.
Solar for Schools helps to finance solar photovoltaics (solar panel) systems for schools.
Tickets to Merlin Group attractions
The charity Merlin's Magic Wand offers tickets to Merlin Group attractions to young people with disabilities or health problems and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The Oxford Owl website offers free tablet-friendly ebooks and resources for primary schools to support children’s learning.
The Woodland Trust invites schools to apply for trees to plant in their grounds. It's currently taking applications for trees to be delivered in November 2020.
B&Q community re-use scheme
B&Q runs a community re-use scheme across its stores, donating “unsellable products and materials” to be reused by local schools, other educational institutions and community groups.
Contact your local store directly to find out more.
Wrap, Splat, Hat
The first 2,000 schools to register for the National Schools Partnership's sun awareness programme for 3 to 11-year-olds will receive 240 printed sun safety passports.
The first 20 schools or nurseries to enter will receive 240 sun cream samples.
Your school can also enter a competition to win £1,000 worth of outdoor equipment and goodie bags.
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