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:
- Those aiming to form a new multi-academy trust (MAT) of at least two schools
- 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.