Schools across England are facing a ‘significant squeeze’ on their budgets despite additional government funding, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, as reported in the Guardian last December. Although schools are getting an additional £2.3bn in 2023 and 2024, this extra money effectively takes spending to 2010 levels, and follows real-terms cuts of 9% per pupil in the decade to 2019.
So if your school is feeling the pinch, you’re certainly not alone. And it can have a big impact on plans to improve buildings and infrastructure. But if you’re keen to enhance your outdoor space to make the most of its potential, for example with a new school canopy, there are more sources of funding than you may have realised.
Here, we look at some of them:
Condition Improvement Funding (CIF) is a budget the government created to help academic buildings stay in a decent condition and to assist with their smooth running (keeping places warm, dry and safe is part of this.) Schools, colleges and academies bid every year for this capital funding. Heating, lighting and safeguarding projects can be funded in this way. In addition , schools with a Good or Outstanding Ofsted rating can apply for money for expansion projects where they need more space because they are oversubscribed.
The application process includes an independent condition survey, bid writing and, finally, project delivery. Every year, the Department for Education publishes lists of successful applicants. And you can also appeal if your bid has not been accepted.
Learn more about CIF applications here.
Council funding for schools
Your local education authority may be able to supply funding for a canopy through a grant. But each council will have a different policy. Contact yours to find out if they have any available money you could apply for.
Look into schemes such as the Big Lottery Fund (the legal name for the National Lottery Community Fund), which distributes National Lottery funds. Since 2004, more than £9bn has been awarded to over 130,000 projects UK-wide.
Other funding sources
It’s worth considering submitting bids to well-known organisations such as Tesco Bags of Help, the Asda Foundation, BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief. If your canopy will help pupils become more active, look at sources of help including Sport England or SportsAid.
It’s also worth contacting big businesses in your area with which you already have a connection – for example if someone senior in the company is also the parent of a child at your school – to see if you could enter into a partnership with them. Keep an eye on local social media for organisations wishing to join up with community good causes.
Across the UK, numerous trust funds help finance school equipment and resources. There are too many of them to mention here, but The Directory of Grant Making Trusts or the Grants4Schools website is a good starting point. Often, trusts fund specific causes or donate in particular local areas only.
Do it yourself
Involve the whole school, alongside the PTA, in raising funds, with cake sales, non-uniform days, school fetes, fun runs and sponsored events – or launch a community crowdfunding appeal. Each of these ideas may not achieve large amounts individually, but collectively they could make a real difference to how much money you are able to raise.
Discuss funding for your school canopy
At Kensington Systems, we’re always happy to discuss funding sources with schools, to help you reap the benefits of our canopies, whether they’re hoping to create an extra study or dining area, a walkway or an outside play area.
Get in touch if you have any questions about seeking funding. If you need your canopy now but can’t fit it into your current budget, that need not be a barrier to getting the facility you require.