What is the Trust Capacity Fund (TCaF)?
The Trust Capacity Fund (TCaF) provides a grant to existing academy trusts to support growth and development when taking on additional schools, not just a growth in capacity within the trust. The fund is also used to support good or outstanding LA maintained rural schools to convert and collaborate with partner schools or create new strong MATs in areas lacking existing trust capacity.
The fund is spread across five strands:
- A1: Support strong trusts to grow and innovate in areas of long-standing need.
- A2: Encourage strong trusts to grow by taking on and improving weaker maintained schools and academies (those subject to intervention and DfE support).
- B: Accelerate the development of mid-sized trusts with the potential to be strong.
- C: Support the merger of smaller trusts to form new strong trusts, as well as priority projects from Regional School Commissioners (RSCs) which do not fall under the other strands.
- D: Support good or outstanding LA maintained rural schools to collaborate and create new, strong MATs.
How much can I apply for?
The minimum grant is £50k but maximum threshold varies across the strands:
- A1: Max £310k
- A2: Max £200k
- B: Max £150k
- C & D: Max £100k
Each strand has its own eligibility criteria which are listed in the full document:
It’s important to remember that funding is to improve the trust as a whole. Funding is not applicable where it’s solely focused on improving a single school within a trust; for capital expenditure, legal costs of conversion, or any activities that could be funded from other sources, such as sponsorship or state aid.
What is considered valid growth?
- Applications from schools to convert to academy status;
- sponsor matches for schools with directive Academy Orders;
- trust mergers, including a SAT joining a larger MAT and SATs joining to create new trusts;
- academy transfers from one trust to another;
- approved free school bid proposals.
When and how to apply for the Trust Capacity Fund
Applications opened 6th April 2020 and the fund is limited, so the earlier you apply the better as funds will deplete; 20/21 closing date is 31st Dec 2020.
- Stage 1: Assesses eligibility using the published criteria.
- Stage 2: RSC assessment using national guidelines.
Two stage application process – stage 1: assesses eligibility using the published criteria; stage 2: RSC assessment using national guidelines.
Growth proposals must have been approved by the RSC between February and December 20 to be eligible, but there are local deadlines for submitting your proposal to your RSC.
Applications can be submitted for initial scrutiny before the final approval from the RSC.
NOTE: You must have a clear plan of how the funds will be used with realistic timescales as funded activities must be completed by 31st March 2021.