What is the Condition Improvement Fund?

A guide to the Condition Improvement Fund – what it is, who can apply for it and how to apply for it

The Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) is an annual bidding round for eligible academies, sixth-form colleges and voluntary aided (VA) schools to apply for capital funding. The priority for the fund is to address significant condition needs, keeping education provider buildings safe and in good working order; this includes funding projects to address health and safety issues, building compliance and poor building condition.

CIF also supports a small proportion of expansion projects; these are for academies, sixth-form colleges and VA schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted which can demonstrate a need to expand.

Information for CIF applicants: 2021 to 2022

This year’s criteria again favour bids from applicants with strong governance and good financial management. The DfE believes there is a strong link between trusts with a good grip on finance and governance and effective, value for money, capital delivery. See the Condition Improvement Fund 2021 to 2022: information for applicants

CIF portal

For CIF 2021 to 2022 you will require access to the CIF portal to submit your applications. Read the ‘Applying to CIF’ section of the Condition Improvement Fund 2021 to 2022: information for applicants

Who can apply

Single academy trusts, small multi-academy trusts (MATs), sixth-form colleges and eligible VA schools can apply for CIF. In order to be eligible to apply for the 2021 to 2022 round, you must have been:

  • an open academy, sixth-form college or VA school as of 1 September 2020
  • a school with a signed academy order as of 1 September 2020 (if successful, you must have converted to academy status and had a funding agreement in place by 1 April 2021 to receive funding)

MATs with five or more academies, and more than 3,000 pupils, CANNOT apply for CIF. These trusts will receive a School Condition Allocation (SCA) to invest across their estate in 2021 to 2022.


Academies and sixth-form colleges can take out a loan for all, or part of, the project costs in their application, in order to demonstrate their commitment to the scheme. You can use the Condition Improvement Fund loan: repayment calculator 2020 to determine the annual and total repayments that will be incurred.

Loans are offered at Public Works Loan Board rates of interest – the same rate that local authorities can access to invest in their schools. You’ll make loan repayments through abatement of revenue funding paid to you and reinvested into future capital budgets.

Urgent Capital Support (UCS)

UCS is specifically for urgent condition issues that threaten immediate school closure.

Who can apply?

You can apply if you are an academy, sixth-form college or VA school and you meet these 2 conditions:

  • you do not receive school conditional allocation (SCA)
  • you need funding assistance to address urgent building condition issues that either:
    • put the safety of your pupils or staff at risk
    • threaten the closure of the whole, or a significant part, of your school

Your application will only be considered where there is a genuine and immediate need for urgent support, such that you cannot wait until the next round of CIF.

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