Funding for Academies

Graeme Race
The Academies Capital Maintenance (ACM) Fund allows existing Academies to apply for capital funds.

In a climate where all schools are challenged to provide cost effective facilities that improve the learning experience for pupils, successfully accessing any available funding is really important.

Academies don’t always know about the Academies Capital Maintenance (ACM) Fund or know how to prepare the best application to give them a good chance of success. My team helps academy clients to secure this funding and we have a success rate of 80 per cent, compared with the national rate of 32 per cent.

My team helps academy clients to secure this funding and we have a success rate of 80 per cent, compared with the national rate of 32 per cent.

The ACM fund reinforces the Department for Education (DfE)’s support for the academies programme, supplementing the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) which was introduced in 2010, inviting maintained schools and academies to bid for urgent repairs. The ACM application is a competitive process, where only 261 out of 567 applicants have been successful in gaining funding for minor capital maintenance projects up to a value of £500K.

The ACM fund is grant allocation which does not require payback and applications do not need to be match funded or supplemented by school funding. The fund allows open Academies to apply for capital funds for specific projects integral to their continuing success. The allocation process favours projects with significant and urgent building condition and/or health and safety needs which cannot be met from the now very limited maintenance or devolved formula capital allocations.

Now in the third year of the ACM process, the government controls the budget more tightly, applying more stringent criteria than before.

Now in the third year of the ACM process, the government controls the budget more tightly, applying more stringent criteria than before. A well-evidenced ACM application therefore makes a big difference to the outcome. Faithful+Gould’s role includes navigating the funding route and providing professional reports in support of ACM Fund applications. Our experience enables us to target the elements most likely to meet the funding criteria – usually large capital works such as infrastructure, roofs, windows, boilers and heating, and electrical upgrades.

Our experience enables us to target the elements most likely to meet the funding criteria...

When the funding has been obtained, we have also been appointed to design and manage the construction process through to completion via our framework with Scape (ensuring that our appointment is fully OJEU compliant). The Scape framework allows a direct appointment to avoid lengthy procurement time periods. This ensures the work is undertaken well in advance of the financial deadlines stipulated in the funding approval.

Where applications are successful, professional fees are covered by the funding budget produced by Faithful+Gould in the initial survey, so that best value for the school is secured.

Recent successful applications have resulted in funding for:

  • Roof covering replacement and improved insulation

  • Boiler replacement

  • Window replacement

  • Electrical switchgear, wiring and lighting upgrades

  • Classroom extensions

  • Conversion of school house to media suite

  • Sport hall refurbishment

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