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Funds and freebies: monthly highlights
See the latest deadlines for funding opportunities, and get bite-sized summaries of the latest funding news. You can also find a selection of the grants available to schools across a range of areas, and details of freebies you can access.
- Approaching deadlines for funding opportunities
- Funding news
- DfE-recommended deals for schools
- Subject-specific grants
- Sports and other activities
- Arts, culture and community
- School partnerships and exchanges
- School trips
- Buildings and facilities
Approaching deadlines for funding opportunities
Increasing engineering knowledge among young people
The Institute of Engineering and Technology has an engineering education grant scheme for UK based educational projects that support the increase of engineering knowledge among young people aged from 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.
The next application deadline is 29 March 2019.
CPD for maths teachers
The London Mathematical Society has grants of up to £400 available to support maths teachers' attendance at one or two-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 2019 (there are 4 deadlines each year: 31 January, 30 April, 31 August and 30 November).
There are further funding opportunities below.
Find out how much year 7 catch-up funding you’re getting for the 2018-19 financial year
Your school’s exact allocation is in this spreadsheet from the DfE. Your allocation is based on the overall amount you received in 2017-2018, adjusted to your current year 7 cohort (based on your October 2018 census data).
If you’re a maintained school, your local authority (LA) will receive the payment on 28 February 2019, and then pass it onto you.
If you’re an academy, you’ll receive your funding on 1 March 2019, directly from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).
LAs to receive an additional £350 million to support children with complex needs and disabilities
The education secretary announced an increase in SEND funding for LAs which will include:
- £125 million to top up high-needs budgets for maintained schools and academies in 2018/19 and 2019/20
- £100 million capital funding for more specialist places in special and mainstream schools.
The government has also announced further SEND plans. These include researching into the effectiveness of the mainstream schools' notional SEN (special educational needs) budget, especially the first £6,000 schools are paying for SEN support before accessing additional funding.
Find supply teachers and agency workers through the DfE's new online tool
You can now access details of the latest approved agencies in your area. All agencies have undergone background screening and safeguarding to the DfE’s Keeping Children Safe in Education standards.
By using agency workers through this site you:
- Will not be asked to pay to make temporary staff permanent after 12 weeks, providing you give the agency 4 weeks' notice
- Can compare the different prices and decide which agency to work with
- Can use the data available to try to negotiate further
To use the tool, you will need:
- Your school’s postcode
- Details of how long you will want the worker
You can’t use this service if you’re an independent school, unless you have charitable status.
New DfE energy price comparison site launched
The site helps you compare gas and electricity prices and switch energy supplier - just like the comparison sites you are using at home.
Hinds announces £10 million tech fund
The fund will support innovative uses of technology in schools. It will form part of an EdTech strategy which the education secretary is planning to launch later in 2019.
Employer contribution rate for teachers' pensions is increasing from September 2019 from 16.48% to 23.6%
The DfE intends to fully fund this rise for state-funded schools in the 2019-20 financial year.
It will be covered through to March 2020 in maintained schools and August 2020 in academies to reflect the different ways they're funded.
Independent schools will not be funded, except for independent special schools educating pupils with EHC plans.
'Little extras' – find out what your school's getting
The DfE has published how much additional capital funding you're going to get for 2018 to 2019.
This is the funding for the ‘little extras’ you might have heard about in the news.
Read more about this in our need-to-know update.
Introduction of full national funding formula delayed
The ‘soft’ national funding formula (NFF) will be in place for a further year, as the schools minister revealed that local authorities (LAs) will continue to determine their own local formulas in 2020-21.
This represents an extension of the initial transition period from 2018-20, where funding is still channelled through LAs.
Explaining the DfE’s reasoning, the schools minister highlighted “significant progress” in the first year of the NFF, with 73 LAs moving their local formulas closer to the NFF and 41 mirroring it almost exactly. The DfE wants to “continue to support a smooth transition”.
Learn more about the national funding formula and the impact on schools in our summary.
DfE-recommended deals for schools
You can access these deals recommended by the DfE to help your school save money. The deals now span 14 different categories, such as:
- Audit services
- Books and materials
- Electricity and gas
- Legal services
- Facilities management and estates
Promotion of physics
The Institute of Physics provides grants of up to £600 for schools and colleges to promote physics.
Application deadlines depend on when the school would like to run the project. The next deadline is 1 June 2019 for projects to be run in autumn term 2019.
Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)
The Armourers and Brasiers' Company provides grants to primary and secondary schools to promote science.
The standard grant is £600 for primary schools and £1,000 for secondary schools.
Applications are currently closed. The next funding round opens on 1 April 2019.
Developing the teaching of Mandarin
State-funded secondary schools that teach Mandarin can apply to the Institute of Education's Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP) for funding to support developing the school into a centre of excellence for the teaching of Mandarin.
School which participate receive at least £20,000 in each year they recruit and keep pupils in the programme.
Applications are open for schools that wish to become an MEP school from September 2019.
Religious education (RE) projects
The Allchurches Trust awards grants designed to benefit Christian communities, supporting projects which help people reach their potential and address social needs.
It says that for schools and colleges, projects it likes to fund include apprenticeships and bursary schemes, and leadership development projects.
Most grants are between £1,000 and £5,000. 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. It also has limited primary school grants available.
Applications for the spring term are now open.
Primary arts-based teaching
The Teacher Development Fund from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation aims to support primary school arts-based teaching through helping teachers and school leaders develop their skills and knowledge.
It expects to offer around 5 grants of up to £150,000 each year to partnerships between arts/cultural organisations and schools.
There is one deadline per year. The most recent application deadline was 5 December 2018 for projects starting in September 2019.
Grants for secondary school geography teachers to create resources
The Royal Geographical Society (RGS) makes two £1,000 grants each year to secondary school geography teachers. Teachers must be working with a university collaborator.
The deadline for applications is 15 February each year.
Latin, Roman studies and activities
The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies committee gives grants from £50 to £500 to schools promoting the teaching of Latin and Roman studies. Grants are mainly offered to purchase textbooks and resources but they also give grant for study days, especially if they benefit large numbers of children throughout the year.
There are 3 deadlines per year. The next is 1 July 2019.
Sports and other activities
A number of grants are available to schools from Sport England. You can find these here.
The Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund offers grants for building or refurbishing local football facilities.
The grant for each facilities project can be between £10,000 and £500,000.
It does not set out any current deadlines for applications.
The fund also has a small grants scheme, for costs of under £10,000 needed for facilities work.
Magic Breakfast and Family Action are delivering the government's National School Breakfast Programme (NSBP). 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. If you're eligible, you'll normally be offered a £500 start up grant and free food delivered weekly or fortnightly.
The breakfast club programme run by the Greggs Foundation is open to all primary schools in England and Wales which meet the following criteria:
- At least 40% of pupils at the school are eligible for free school meals (FSM)
- 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
There is a waiting list for new clubs but there is no application deadline.
Arts, culture and community
General educational projects
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.
Projects that help disadvantaged young people
Schools supporting children who are disabled or disadvantaged can apply for grants from Cash for Kids.
Funding is awarded on a local basis across 22 areas in the UK. Contact details for each area are available from the link above.
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 individuals, organisations and others who use the arts in their work.
Awards range from £1,000 to £100,000. There are no deadlines.
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.
The Ernest Cook Trust (ECT) offers grants to schools and other organisations for programmes to encourage pupils' interest in the countryside and environment, and the arts or science. It also supports programmes aiming to raise levels of literacy and numeracy.
There is a large grants programme for those wishing to apply for awards up to £12,000, and a small grants programme for applications for awards below £4,000.
Applications are accepted at any time.
The Naturesave Trust considers applications for environmental projects which specifically address the promotion and implementation of sustainable development, environmental improvement and/or general 'green' issues.
There are no deadlines for applications and there is 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.
Music, heritage and crafts grants
The Radcliffe Trust offers grants principally in two sectors: music, and heritage and crafts.
Grants generally have a value of between £1,000 and £5,000.
The next heritage and crafts scheme deadline 31 July 2019, and the next deadline for applications to its music scheme is 31 August 2019.
Funding for musical instruments
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.
Applications are currently closed. The next funding round will take place in October 2019.
School partnerships and exchanges
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.
The maximum grant available ranges between £1,000 and £5,000 depending on the grant.
For most funding opportunities, there are 3 application deadlines per year: 31 January, 31 May and 31 October.
Trips for disadvantaged pupils and those with disabilities
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.
Applications are currently open.
Trips for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities
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.
Educational breaks for disadvantaged pupils
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.
It's currently advertising educational breaks which are open to applications.
Buildings and facilities
Grants for secondary capital 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
Grants do not normally exceed £50,000, or £100,000 for sixth-form colleges.
The programme is currently being reviewed and is closed to applications.
Capital funding for special schools
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, fixtures, fittings, equipment, or to purchase vehicles (such as a minibus).
Its small grants programme offers a maximum grant of £10,000, and there is no maximum grant for its main grants programme (but the average is £25,000).
Applications can be submitted at any time. Schools must complete an eligibility quiz before accessing the application form.
Special schools and colleges can apply to The Wolfson Foundation for capital funding for building refurbishments, new buildings and equipment.
Grants vary from about £15,000 to £100,000.
The next application deadline is 1 July 2019 (there are 2 application deadlines each year: 5 January and 1 July).
Equipment grants to improve the care of a child who is seriously ill or disabled
Variety, the children's charity offers grants up to around £5000 for specialist equipment which will directly benefit or support children with disabilities.
Read the grants applications FAQs carefully before you apply to find out a list of items the charity will not fund.
Applications can be submitted at any time but there is a limit of one application per year.
Founders4Schools is a free service which helps schools to arrange for founders of successful businesses to visit their schools and inspire their students.
Schools can use the website to search for founders of successful businesses in their 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.
Grow Your Own Potatoes, a project aiming to teach primary school pupils about potatoes, offers free potato growing kits to schools which register.
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 (PV) 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 2019.
B&Q community re-use scheme
B&Q runs a community re-use scheme across its stores, donating “unsellable products and materials” to be re-used by local schools, other educational institutions and community groups.
Contact your local store directly and speak to a duty manager to find out more.
Charles Nevin is a national leader of governance. He has more than 25 years' experience of school governance and currently chairs a multi-academy trust in the north west.
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