Unsuccessful CIF Bids – Next Steps in CIF 2020-21

CIF Funding 2020/21 – unsuccessful results / failed bids

Last week the results of the latest round of CIF bids were announced, with the DfE allocating over £434m for 1,476 projects at 1,243 academies, sixth-form colleges and non-diocesan voluntary aided schools in England.

The CIF fund is hugely oversubscribed each year and unfortunately, not all bids can be approved. In fact this year the Department for Education (DfE) received requests for more than £1.45 billion for over 4650 projects, meaning that less than 30% of the projects applied for actually obtained the funding. 

If your school was one that unfortunately missed out in this year’s funding round, there are steps that can be taken. Lea Hough are able to review previous unsuccessful CIF bids and provide advice on what to do next.  The options are:

1. Appealing a CIF bid decision

Academy schools and sixth form colleges have a narrow window in which to appeal the decision made by the DfE. In a small number of cases, it might be suitable to submit an appeal. However, it should be noted that the number of projects that win funding through appeal is very low and the DfE will only reverse their decision where applicants can demonstrate that a material error has been made in the assessment of their application. The appeals round for CIF 2020 to 2021 will take place in September 2020. After this, there is no further stage in the appeals process.

2. Re-apply in the next CIF funding round

Due to the small number of bids that are successful at the appeal stage, many schools take the decision that it would be best to revise their bid and submit it in the next round of applications. The next time schools will be able to apply for CIF funding will be during next year’s round (exact dates are still to be announced for this year, but usually open in the autumn).

All CIF bids receive feedback via the bid portal, so this is the first place to start. The threshold score for having a bid approved is over 76%, with the most significant percentage of the score being available for the justification for project need. We have worked with a number of academy schools and sixth form colleges who have been unsuccessful in previous rounds, but that we have been able to re-apply and achieve a successful outcome. Our specialist team have several years of experience in this area and know the best way in which to present projects in the application process, including providing detailed specialist reports and a sufficient level of evidence.

3. Consider other funding

Depending on the nature of the project, there may be other funding pots that can be applied for. The criteria for each type of funding tends to be narrow but our team have experience in advising and preparing applications on behalf of schools across a variety of funding sources, so can help schools identify projects that may be suitable.

Lea Hough are able to offer a Free Audit of your bid so that you can apply the insights in future applications.

If you have been unsuccessful with a recent bid and would like us to review it free of charge and provide advice on the next steps, please contact us.


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