Trust Capacity Fund details

Friday, 27 September 2019 | Written by Liz Kay-Stott

The DfE has announced that they have now opened the application process for the Trust Capacity Fund (TCaF) for Trusts growth and development across England


With the awards made in conjunction with the growth approved by Regional Schools Commissioners (RSCs).

The £17million of available funds of the TCaF has four strands of application, each with their own criteria:

  • A1: Support strong Trusts to grow and innovate in areas of long-standing need.
  • A2: Encourage strong Trusts to grow by converting and improving weaker maintained schools or adding vulnerable Academies to their Trust and improving them.
  • B: Accelerate the development of mid-sized Trusts with the potential to be strong.
  • C: Create new strong Trusts either by single Academy Trusts joining larger Trusts or by supporting the growth of existing Trusts via mergers or priority projects identified by Regional Schools Commissioners.

The maximum thresholds for the four strands of TCaF have also been published as part of the application process.

The DfE go on to say that there are certain activities that are not eligible for the TCaF, including:

  • Capital expenditures: spending on the purchase of assets (including building and furniture).
  • Activity that is already underway prior to any proposal receiving RSC approval.
  • Activities that the Trust would otherwise be able to access free of charge.
  • Small amounts of time for pre-existing salaried staff.
  • Foreign travel.
  • Activities that could be funded from other sources.
  • Activities that are solely focused on improving any single school rather than the Trust as a whole.

The purpose of the grant is to strengthen the central capacity of Trusts rather than individual schools.

All Trusts are eligible to apply for the competitive TCaF funding unless they have an open Financial Notice to Improve (FNtI). To continue with an application on any of the strands your Trust must:

  • Take into your Trust at least one additional school
  • Demonstrate how you plan to use the funding efficiently and effectively.
  • Be of sound financial health and, as a minimum requirement, not have an open FNtI.

The application window for TCaF closes on Tuesday 31st December 2019. Details of the full application process and eligibility checker can be found at

The assessment of applications is a two-stage process. The first of the two stages will shortlist bids against published criteria and will determine if the Trust is eligible to apply and under which strand of the fund. The second of the two stages, for applicants that are successful at the first stage, will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Geographical need
  • Contextual need
  • Deliverability
  • Resource management
  • Value for money
  • Sustainability

The evaluation and resulting decision if the trust should be funded, will be made under national guidelines, take in to account the strength of the application against other bids submitted at that time, and will be subject to a financial health assessment using the core financial returns shared with the Education & Skill Funding Agency (ESFA).

PrimarySite are educational communication experts working with some of the UK’s leading Trusts. To find out how our dedicated Trust team can support your TCaF application, call us today on: 01636 616640

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