DfE launches new academy funding round

Tom LeggeSchools

This week, the DfE opened applications for the MAT Development and Improvement Fund (MDIF). This new funding is designed to support two particular types of applicant:

  1. Those aiming to form a new multi-academy trust (MAT) of at least two schools
  2. Existing trusts aiming to take on at least two additional schools

Within these broad groups, priority will be given to those who are aiming to:

  • Support schools to raise standards for disadvantaged pupils
  • Support underperforming schools, as defined by Ofsted (RI and Inadequate) and those below the national floor standard
  • Focus on one of the priority areas identified in the criteria.

The application is a relatively brief document, with significant commonalities with the academy sponsor application. In return for this initial outlay of effort, the expected award size is between £50-100k, which can be spent on teaching and leadership staff, professional development, business management advice, and legal and consultancy costs associated with growth.

There are a few interesting features of the announcement of the award:

  • Academy sponsorship: the DfE have made explicit that, although academy sponsorship remains a requirement to take on underperforming schools, an application to become an academy sponsor can be submitted simultaneously with an MDIF application, rather than making it a pre-requisite of the process
  • Strategic School Improvement Fund: schools in receipt of the SSIF can also apply for MDIF, as long as their application shows that the two sets of funding will be used to achieve different outcomes
  • Priority areas: the priority areas identified exclude all London boroughs and some other major urban centres, such as Birmingham. However, the phrasing is such that priority areas are just that – priorities, rather than sure or exclusive winners

Premier Advisory Group offers proven, high-quality bid-writing and review services, as well as consultancy and research, to support trusts to make strong applications.

We also offer a MAT strategic development process, which aligns closely with – and goes beyond the parameters of – the MDIF should your application be successful.

For a no-obligation discussion about how we can support you to access the funding to need to secure and implement your Trust’s growth plans, please don’t hesitate to contact us.