School capital funding

Dec 4, 2020 | Finance Posts

An overview of school capital funding, who it’s for, current and past allocations, how it’s calculated and spending guidance.


Each year, the Department for Education allocates funding to help maintain and improve the condition of school buildings and grounds.

This funding is made up of:

  • school condition allocations (SCA), given to eligible bodies responsible for maintaining school buildings
  • devolved formula capital (DFC), allocated to schools and other eligible institutions
  • the condition improvement fund (CIF), a bidding round for single academy trusts, small multi-academy trusts (MATs), small voluntary aided (VA) bodies and sixth-form colleges

Who the funding is for

School capital funding includes allocations for:

  • local authorities and local-authority-maintained schools, including maintained nursery schools
  • local voluntary-aided bodies and voluntary-aided schools
  • academies and large multi-academy trusts and sponsors
  • sixth-form colleges
  • special schools not maintained by the local authority
  • special post-16 institutions with eligible students

Eligibility for SCA and CIF for the 2021 to 2022 financial year

Schools and those responsible for school buildings receive condition funding through different routes depending on their size and type.

Local authorities, larger MATs and larger VA school bodies receive direct SCA to invest in priorities across the schools for which they are responsible.

Smaller or stand-alone academy trusts, sixth form colleges and smaller or stand-alone VA school bodies are able to bid to the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF).

In autumn 2020, we will notify academy trusts and VA school bodies that are eligible for SCA in the financial year 2021 to 2022. Eligibility should not be assumed unless it’s been confirmed.

To receive direct SCA, multi-academy trusts and VA bodies must meet both eligibility criteria below:

  • the trust or VA body must have 5 or more open schools at the start of September 2020
  • those open schools (or their predecessor schools) must have had at least 3,000 pupils counted in the spring 2020 census

We will publish more information on how we count pupil numbers in the forthcoming condition funding methodology for 2021 to 2022.

For special and alternative-provision schools (including pupil referral units), we now multiply the pupil count by 3 for the purposes of SCA eligibility. For example, we would now count a MAT with 1,000 pupils in special schools as having 3,000 pupils, and eligible for SCA. This is because these schools tend to have lower pupil numbers for their size and more complex facilities, so they receive more condition funding per pupil. We are now recognising that in their eligibility for SCA, as well as in the allocated amount.

For nursery schools and sixth forms, we use the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) pupils rather than headcount.

All of the above institution types are eligible for devolved formula capital.

Funding allocations for the 2020 to 2021 financial year

Capital funding is based on financial years. For the latest funding amounts see:

The ‘Things you need to know’ tab has important information about how the allocations were calculated.

How the funding is calculated

See Condition funding methodology for 2020 to 2021 (PDF511KB17 pages) for information on eligibility and how the funding is calculated. It includes minor changes to the methodology for the 2020 to 2021 financial year.

The condition data collection, which completed in 2019, will provide high-level information on the condition of state-funded schools in England and inform future funding policy after 2020 to 2021.

What you can spend it on

See Condition grants spend guidance (PDF293KB14 pages) for guidance on the purpose of the fund, what you can spend it on and over what time period.

Additional funding allocations for the 2020 to 2021 financial year

On 29 June, the Prime Minister announced an additional £560m for repairs and upgrades to school buildings, on top of funding already allocated this year. This has been allocated through school condition allocations and the Condition Improvement Fund, as follows:

The ‘Things you need to know’ tab has important information about how the allocations were calculated.

Previous years’ funding

See the National Archives website for SCA and DFC allocations for previous years.

The healthy pupils capital fund was a one-year fund for 2018 to 2019 only.

In the 2018 budget, the government announced an extra £400 million of capital funding for schools in England for 2018 to 2019. See the additional capital funding page on the National Archives for more information.