School Funding – Where do I start?

There are dozens and dozens of grants that your school could apply for. Yes, it can matter a little bit what type of school you are (Primary, Secondary, State Funded, Private, Academy etc) and the type of area you are based in can have an influence; but essentially it’s just a case of finding an organisation that wants to fund the things that you want to do.


So where to start…


1. Reflect a little on your school development plan and work out what your real priorities are.

I would say it is a pretty safe bet that reading, writing and numeracy are probably high up your list these days – and yes, there are grants that you can apply for to help these areas. But isn’t it equally important that our children have exciting and challenging outdoor play areas, and opportunities to be creative both during and after school. How much would your pupils benefit from outdoor activities, or working alongside a professional composer or artist? Do your pupils’ parents need support, would they welcome parenting classes, exercise sessions, or help with understanding their children’s learning?


2. Vision

If you haven’t already, then develop a vision – what to you want your organisation to look like 3, 5 or 10 years from now?

Think about the physical space, your school building, the entrance hall, the classrooms, even the toilets! This is time to dream a little bit – what would you really do if you had the money? Don’t worry about the how just yet, that bit comes later.

Think about the activities that go on inside your building; what do you need to make lessons more vibrant and stimulating? What about your resources (including staff and volunteers), how could they be even better than they are now?

Perhaps you would like to set up a breakfast club, a Forest School area, take students on residential holidays or create a learning space for parents.


3. Prioritise

Pick three areas you would like to focus on this year, three for next year, and three for the year after.

Accept that you can’t do everything at once – but having a simple, straight forward plan will help you decide which things you want, or need, to do first.


4. Who?

Who could lead on each area? Who has got the creativity and/or the enthusiasm to develop each idea? Go with your gut instinct.


5. How much?

You only need a rough idea at this point. Will it cost less than £500, less than £10,000, or £50,000 plus?


6. Why?

At this point, you are almost ready to begin looking for funding – but you are going to have to convince potential funders that there is a really good reason why you need to do the things on your action plan.


So take one more look at your plan:

  • Who will your projects and activities benefit (pupils, parents, staff)?
  • How will they benefit (will they become healthier, more confident, better readers)?
  • What difference will it make to your pupils, their families or the local communities lives?
  • Talk to other people, get their ideas. It’s a great start if you can come up with 5 or 6 benefits before you go too much further.

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