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We have been writing successful funding bids for nearly 20 years. In our experience, securing CIF bids comes down to one old saying: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

The deadline for each academic year follows a pattern. Final bids are required on the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) portal in December. This gives eligible schools and colleges with academy status a clear timeline to get prepared.

We recommend starting at around the same time as the Government announces the current year’s outcomes – Spring or early Summer.


Why Start CIF Bids In The Spring/Early Summer?


Starting early allows for a timely review of the Department for Schools and Education guidance document. This allows your bid to be aligned with the latest policy criteria and priorities. For example, ESFA has specified the available points for different percentages of school contribution according to the project cost. Often, higher school contributions lead to extra marks that can push your bid over the qualifying threshold.

Importantly, allowing enough time also enables condition surveys and contractor visits to take place over the holiday period. Doing so minimises disruption to the day-to-day running of the school and allows unrestricted access to investigate the prioritised issues. Previous ESFA bid guidance stresses the importance of referring to an up-to-date, independent condition survey when identifying failing components.


The first step towards a successful CIF Bid

We cannot stress enough the importance of having compelling and independent evidence. This should be supported with pictures to help illustrate the identified issues. Evidence such as;

  • condition surveys
  • asbestos reports
  • cost breakdown records
  • energy bills
  • user statements
  • records of interruptions to teaching


Equally important is having accurate contractor’s pricing and delivery programmes which support your bid. All these take a surprising amount of time to collect.

Chawton Hill have helped numerous schools and colleges not only secure CIF funding but also re-write and submit unsuccessful bids. We also have extensive experience in the Construction Infrastructure Levy (CIL). Our advice has helped schools secure the reinstatement of charges taken through the planning process via the Local Planning Authority.


Don’t procrastinate: speak to us today. We can help you prepare a successful CIF bid and book your vital condition survey.


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