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The Government’s new FE Capital Transformation Fund

In March 2023, the UK Government announced a new FE Capital Transformation Fund for schools and colleges. Though they mention schools, it appears the funding is very much targeted at Further Education. Sixth forms can only apply in limited circumstances. This new investment will be available for schools and colleges. Its purpose is to upgrade classrooms and refurbish buildings to provide high quality learning environments.

The funding announced includes:

  • £1.8 billion investment to improve the condition of the school estate across England.
  • £487 million investment to support councils to provide additional school places.
  • 146 colleges benefiting from the £1.5 billion further education capital transformation programme, to upgrade buildings and transform campuses.

Whilst it’s great news – some have questioned whether the funding goes far enough. With an estimated backlog of repairs in education at £11.4 Billion, it’s clear that colleges will need to act quickly to secure their share of the funding.

Who can apply for the funding?

To be eligible for funding under the FE Capital Transformation Fund, you must be a FE college who is:

  • Established as a further education corporation, as defined in section 17(1) of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 (FHEA 1992) (FE corporations); and
  • A designated institution for further education established under section 28 of FHEA 1992.

The fund is not open to sixth form college corporations, schools or academies. However, it can be used where an FE corporation delivers provision through a site that is branded as a sixth form college or centre.

What should your application focus on?

The funding must be used to improve the condition of buildings and facilities in the estate.

You should identify those in the poorest condition, and target the funding towards these. You may also use the funding for demolition of blocks that are being upgraded or are now surplus to requirements.

It is expected that your FE college will have a long-term estates strategy. You should take this into account when allocating your funding. You should also be sure that within your team, you have the capacity to manage the proposed works. These need to be completed within the timeframe set out in your funding agreement.

This is exactly the kind of support that Chawton Hill have experience with. Putting together a strong bid to obtain adequate funding for capital works is crucial to ensuring success for your college or educational establishment.

Are some types of building works excluded?

You can only use the funding to improve areas of the estate designated to further education. Even if the area is in the poorest condition, if the area is primarily used for non-FE activities, it will not be eligible.

You also are not permitted to use the funding to purchase land or on buildings which are not owned by the FE college. The funding must be spent on building works, not other expenses such as general up keep, staff costs or IT equipment. However you can spend the funding on professional consultancy fees when these are for the delivery of the project.

How Chawton Hill can help

Building projects in the education sector come with their own unique risks and challenges. Your ultimate goal is to provide exceptional facilities for your students. But, these need to be delivered within budget and to your timescales. Ensuring you obtain funding to provide the best facilities is something we’ve been helping people with for decades.

Chawton Hill have also been supporting education organisations in the delivery of projects since the very start of the practice, over twenty years ago. Whatever your need in the education sector, our team will be able to support you from funding to completion. Work with us and ensure your project is delivered successfully and within budget.

View our educational case studies to find out more, or get in touch to have a no-obligation chat about your project requirements.