Success & Disappointment: Where The CIF Funds Have Gone

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The ESFA has now published the names of the successful CIF awarded projects for the year 2023-24.

The overall CIF pot was £456 million.

859 school estates will be funded for 1,033 compliance, condition and expansion projects.

Only 34% of submissions were funded.

The average project award amounts to £441,000.

The type of projects awarded included:


The CIF pot of £456 million remained static against a backdrop of rising material and labour costs and an inflation rate of 11%.

The rise in material and labour costs saw average project costs rise from £350,000 to £440,000.

The number of awarded projects dropped by over 300 (25%) from a standard year of 1,400 to 1,033.

66% of CIF bids were unsuccessful, despite many meeting the ESFA criteria.

The drop in the number of awarded projects reflects a reduction in trust’s financial wherewithal to support their bids and for the ESFA to cross subsidise other applications that meet their most urgent criteria but where there was no financial contribution.

Inflationary pressures, particularly, from spikes in energy costs, reduced school budgets and reserves from which trusts could choose to use reserves to make financial contributions. Public Works Loan Board interest rates have also increased from 1.13% to 5.13% and as a result this will have affected schools’ ability to meet the affordability criteria for taking out a CIF loan.

With circa £15 billion of backlog funding required to bring the 22,000-school estate to something approaching a fit for purpose teaching and learning environment, the 1,033 awarded projects will make those schools safe, warm and dry, but will not make a major contribution to the wider school estate landscape.

The focus, in terms of the types of awarded projects, addressed risk to life, through fire safety and safeguarding; risk to school closure for life expired heating; and hot water systems and key fabric, such as roofs. These comply with the ESFA’s hierarchy of need.

66% of applications were unsuccessful and any school who feels they would benefit from a sector expert and CIF specialist reviewing their submissions and the ESFA feedback, Tim Warneford is always available to provide his insight as to potential grounds for an appeal or a future improved bid.

Contact me now if you would like to discuss more.