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.  Also, we will announce winners in our news section and outline the particular strengths of their applications.
  • Easy Process - we cut out as much time and paperwork as we can by having a short, on-line application form. 
  • Fair Judgement - we have tried to develop a decision process that is consistent and gives due weight to each of the criteria below.

 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). 
  • 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?  e.g. 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
    • Consider/estimate how much pupil attainment and interest/motivation is likely to improve from the award.  e.g. a class set of specialist, algebra-focused textbooks could improve pupil understanding and application which might be demonstrated in improved test 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 three 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.
  • Effective Learning  
    • This can be a main focus of your bid (e.g. staff/pupil training on memory or motivation techniques which will help across the curriculum and life) or an aspect of your bid for a particular subject (e.g. developing CPA [Concrete, Pictoral and Abstract] teaching/resources in maths).
    • For us, effective learning is basically learning and teaching in innovative and more effective ways. This could be any method or resource that helps your pupils learn and use any knowledge or skill more quickly, thoroughly, easily, enjoyably, deeply and/or permanently. This can be in any subject(s) but ideally, it would help learning across the curriculum and age groups. 
    • There is a lot more detail about Effective Learning on our Effective Learning Resources pages.
    • Examples of some primary bids that had strong Effective Learning elements are from:  Offley and Almond Hill.

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 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.

Part-Funding:  We prefer to fund an entire project as our Primary Awards aim to make a big difference with a little help.  However,  we will consider slightly larger projects as long as our contribution is 50% or more of the total cost.  If you are applying to us to fund part of a project, you must demonstrate that the additional funds are in place/committed to the project.

NB:  Due to limited funds, we are unlikely to award grants to buy/replace large amounts of core equipment or textbooks.  Successful applications are usually tied into a specific project to improve learning  effectiveness (inc. motivation) and/or extend the school’s current offering of subjects and activities.

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.   

  • Primary applications will usually be assessed once a week.  Those applications meeting our criteria  (see above) and within the school's yearly total application limit (£1,000) will be considered in the order in which they were received (date/time) until that half-term’s budget runs out.  If an application is rejected, the school may apply for another (or amended) project in the same or a different focus area(s). 
  • The application form may be frozen when we are close to reaching that half-term’s budget and re-opened if there are funds available once we have assessed the current applications.