Sprinkling stardust on your bid writing. What do grant funders expect from us?

Justin Smith, managing director, Chameleon Consultancy and Training Ltd

With over 5,000 funders in the UK, presiding over £1.5bn in grant funding for schools and charities, effective bid writing is becoming a core skill for many school business leaders. Although many applications are unsuccessful, often due to shear weight of numbers, a significant proportion are rejected due to avoidable mistakes. So, how can you ensure your school’s application is the one that will catch their eye? Justin Smith will walk you through exactly what the grant funders are looking for and how you can make your application shine.


In this seminar Justin Smith will explore:


  • The essential elements of a successful funding bid with key references to major grant funders such as Sport England, The National Lottery and Comic Relief.
  • Precisely what funders are looking for from a grant application.
  • Ways of adding a ‘sprinkle of stardust’ to your own applications.

Take home points:

  • How to identify and select appropriate funding for your project.
  • The essentials of a successful funding application.
  • Recognise why applications fail; the pitfalls to avoid.
  • Hear from the funders – what do they want to see from us?

This session is for:

SBMs who would like to become more effective and successful in writing and submitting grant applications.


This session runs at our Edexec LIVE North and South events

About the speaker:

Following a career spent in business development and marketing, Justin moved into the education sector over 20 years ago and has worked as a senior leader in three large secondary schools in Suffolk and Norfolk.

In 2017 Justin established his own business, Chameleon Consultancy and Training, designed to provide specialist marketing, income generation and bid writing services to the education sector.

A vastly experienced bid writer, Justin has secured over £7m in additional income for schools, from a variety of sources including conventional grants and trust funds, commercial sponsorship and donations. Chameleon Consultancy and Training has developed a suite of practical and innovative products, services and masterclasses to support school leaders nationally, from stand-alone primary schools to large multi-academy trusts.  

In 2020 Justin became an assessor with Best Practice Network, assessing school leaders with the ILM Level 4 Diploma in School Business Management. Additionally, Justin is a volunteer enterprise advisor, supporting and mentoring budding entrepreneurs in local schools.

Justin was awarded the Guardian/ISBL Marketing Award in 2015, became an ISBL Fellow in 2017 and is a member of the Institute of Fundraising.

What are you waiting for?

EdExec Live offers delegates the opportunity to select specific seminar topics relevant to them, ensuring your day is filled with information and learning that will be directly relevant to you and your school’s current requirements.


It’s always difficult to take a day out of the office, but the question is: can you afford to miss out on this event?

Stay connected

What they say​

Fab as always - very informative - great to meet new people in the same boat. Gave me the information and renewed incentive to make a difference in my organisation by using/improving my skills.
Edwina Hurst
Thurstonland Endowed (VC) First School