CIF 2019-2020

The ESFA has today announced that the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) 2019-2020 funding round is now open to applicants.

The CIF is the annual opportunity for Academies and Sixth-Form Colleges to apply for funding for large-scale projects to repair and improve their school buildings.

Applications must be submitted to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). The EFSA’s information for applicants can be accessed here:

Applications can now be submitted between now and the deadline of 13th December.

For new applicants who have never submitted CIF bids before, they must register before 5th November, in order to be entitled to submit a CIF bid by 13th December.

The minimum project threshold is £20,000 for primary schools and £50,000 for secondary schools and sixth form colleges.

Each year, the criteria changes slightly and this year is no different. However, the main priority for CIF remains the condition of school buildings to ensure they are safe and fit for purpose. A smaller proportion of the CIF funding is also available for expansion projects (i.e. extensions to school buildings).

Changes to this year’s criteria include:

  • A change in the weighting, with “Value for Money” now having an increased weighing of 25% when bids are marked by the assessors.
  • The marking weighting for “Project Need” has been reduced to 60%.
  • There is a new requirement whereby projects must demonstrate that they are designed to satisfy the relevant performance requirements of the ESFA’s Output Specification (OS). This is to ensure that projects that receive funding are of appropriate quality standards and performance requirements for school buildings and grounds.
  • This year, there is no funding element available from through the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund.

We would encourage all academies to appoint a consultant who has experience of educational buildings and CIF funding applications.

The application process is tough and demands a huge amount of supporting information. In previous years, the CIF has been three times over-subscribed and this year will be no different. Only projects that demonstrate high project need and those that align with CIF priorities are likely to be successful.

Here at Lea Hough we have a track record of preparing successful CIF bids and obtaining significant funding for academy schools. Last year our success rate was 81%, which is well above the national average, and our academy school clients have benefitted from £millions of CIF funding over the last few years.

As well as submitting the CIF applications, we will also prepare drawings and specifications, obtain competitive tender prices from contractors, and procure and deliver the works undertaking full project management through to completion.

Projects that score highly on the criteria typically relate to health and safety, fire safety compliance, replacement boilers and central heating systems, weathertightness, safeguarding (fencing and main entrance re-modelling), roof re-covering, window replacement, asbestos removal, legionella improvement works, and repairs to improve the condition of external fabric.  We have also had CIF schemes approved for whole block refurbishment of RoSLA teaching block, full upgrades of sports facilities, science lab refurbishments, classroom refurbishments and toilet refurbishments.

Please contact us NOW for a free initial consultation – it is important that academies prepare high quality bids and it is essential that Academies start this process as soon as possible, to ensure that you do not miss the opportunity to apply for this important CIF funding.


Preston Office
Telephone: 01772 458866
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Telephone: 01254 260196
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Telephone: 01200 320040
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Telephone: 01524 899850
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Telephone: 0161 265 0070
Lea Hough is a trading name of Lea Hough & Co LLP, which is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales under partnership number OC306054.
Registered Office: Oakshaw House, 2 Capricorn Park, Blakewater Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB1 5QR