How We Select Successful Bids

Grant Application Process Aims

We would love to give money to every school that applies but, like everyone else, we have a limited amount of funds available and so have to select successful applications.  We have several aims for our application and selection process:

  • Transparency – we want busy staff who have had a great idea and found the time to make an application to have an insight into why they were successful or unsuccessful – both of which will hopefully help schools apply again for their next initiative.  To this end, we have listed our assessment criteria below.   There are also information pop-up panels for the longer questions on the form.
  • Easy Process - we cut out as much time and paperwork as we can by having a single, short, on-line application form. 

 Grant Application Assessment Criteria  

(not in any priority order)

  • A specific project
    • Give us specific details about what you want to buy, who from and the cost (we are happy to follow links so you just have to give us a item names and costs). 
    • The resources/training/speakers/visit etc that you bid for should all be focussed on a particular objective, curriculum area or topic (cross-curricular) rather than a "shopping list" of different resources for different purposes.
  • Number of children benefiting
    • Consider how many pupils will benefit from the award: one pupil  (e.g. a highly gifted/talented pupil to receive national-standard coaching), one small group, a class, a whole school?
    • A big factor in this one is longevity – will future cohorts of pupils also benefit?  e.g. A vaulting horse will help many  P.E. classes for 10+ years or a teacher who receives some specialist coaching/training in tennis will benefit classes for the rest of her/his career and possibly cascade train others.   For a one-off event (e.g. a workshop or trip) you will have to explain how the event's benefits (e.g. awe/wonder, re-engagement, motivation, new-techniques etc) will last for more than that day (e.g.  teachers trained, embedded into future planning, follow-up events etc).
  • Pupil Needs
    • Will the idea help pupils who have a particular need for the intended outcome?  Examples might include:  Will the idea help low ability pupils to close the attainment gap?  Will Pupil Premium pupils benefit from a trip or exposure to a study opportunity that would otherwise be beyond their means?  Is this an activity/resource to push high achieving pupils who would find it difficult to access this level of learning/expertise otherwise?
  • Depth of benefit
    • Why/how will the project improve learning in the subject(s), perhaps compared to how it is taught at present with current resources.
    • Consider/estimate how much pupil attainment and interest/motivation is likely to improve from the award.  e.g.  fraction-focused interactive software could improve pupil understanding and application in an identified area of weakness which might be demonstrated in improved KS2 SATSs results.
  • Breadth of benefit
    • Will the project benefit a narrowly focused academic area or help in a wide range of topics/subjects?  e.g. comparing software that drastically enhances understanding of 3D shapes compared to a package that covers many maths topics but in less depth.
    • We do give weight to an application which will also benefit subjects/skills outside our focus areas.  e.g. mind-mapping software would aid creative planning and thinking across many subjects.
  • Extension to current provision
    • How different is your activity/experience/resource to the your school's current provision. e.g. a Paralympics day where pupils experience the challenges of wheelchair basketball etc. would probably not be available without extra funding.  Staff training and resources for a subject you are not currently able to offer would score highly here.

We expect most bids will have some degree of criteria "trade-off" e.g. funding sessions with a professional coach to take a gifted pupil to national level would score highly on "Depth of Benefit" and "Pupil Needs" but not do so well on "Number of Children Benefiting".  However, if the classroom teacher was also being trained in advanced coaching techniques, the breadth of benefit score would increase.

We will also take other information into consideration. e.g. How long will the project take to get up and running;  is the school pushing attainment as a centre of excellence and/or learning hub in the topic or trying hard to strengthen an underachieving area; have you shown the success of earlier projects we have helped with in feedback?  Don't worry too much about this, however, as our decisions will mainly be based on the above criteria.

  • Please see our How to Apply for a Grant page for important information on Part-bids (contributions to projects costing over £1,000) and Bids to avoid.

Top 3 Feedback Points from the 2023 Secondary Major Award Applications

 This gives some help on how to apply successfully for any of our awards...

  1.  We make a judgement ourselves on the learning benefits of projects* but we are not experts in all subjects so it is up to the applicant to explain how the project will bestow the learning benefits.
  2.  Credit will be given if applicants address how their project will meet specified pupil needs and say how they have identified these needs.
  3.  Extra credit is given if the applicant supports any forecasted benefits with evidence – this might be from e.g. research findings or school experience of similar/related initiatives.  Any research, including provider/supplier  claims, should be explained and applied to the particular needs of the applicant’s school and not just pasted into the application from supplier websites/marketing.

*  “Project” refers to whatever products, training, workshops etc you are applying for.

The Judging Process

The Awards Panel

A number of trustees and employees will form the judging panel for each focus area. The panel will include a member with special responsibility for the particular focus area.   

Primary Awards

At least two members of the awards panel will judge all new primary award applications approximately within a fortnight based primarily on the above grant application assessment criteria.   

  • We aim to assess new applications within two weeks of receipt but this is not always possible.  Those applications meeting our criteria  (see above) and within the school's yearly application limit (£1,000) will be considered in the order in which they were received (date/time) until that month's budget runs out and we close the form.   The form will reopen the following month with a refreshed budget.
  • If an application is rejected, the school may apply for another (or amended) project in the same or a different focus area(s).