How to Bid for a School Grant

Make Me A Bid

Every school leader, bursar and school business manager will worry about money and income generation. Professional fundraising or “schools’ development” is never off the radar.

Schools are under enormous pressure to deliver the goods for students in the face of unprecedented cuts and painful belt-tightening.

Raising funds is never easy but there are some options to plug into via grant-making trusts, foundations, charities, businesses, individual donors as well as specific government departments.

Incredibly, some eligible schools are staring money right in the face which is there for the taking but haven’t applied.

Applying for a grant is an excellent way to generate some extra money for your school and could be well worth your while.

The grants can vary in value from a few hundred pounds to many thousands with some being offered for specific projects and purchases while others are unrestricted. The potential is huge and when bids are successful, the money can be a real help.

The types of grant available tend to fall into one of three categories – Capital, Revenue and Project work.

1. Capital grants fund bricks and mortar and tangible things such as a building project, repairs or equipment.
2. Revenue grants (often called ‘core costs’) are made towards the general costs and expenses of a project.
3. Project grants are given for a specific project or activity that you need funds for.

A selection group will normally consider each application and this panel will be made up of various representatives who are experienced grant-makers and will use their judgement as to what they feel is appropriate.

Feedback is not normally offered to applicants. Some applications have strict deadlines and some, like Awards For All, don’t and you can apply when you are ready and when your plans and priorities are suitably clear to be able to make a convincing case.

Fever Pitch

With an endless number of projects, applying for grant funding can be a minefield.

The key to successfully winning a grant, all boils down to a robust application and being specific to the school and your students. It can literally be a pitched battle so you need to shine, sparkle and throw in some magic dust for good measure.

Bid writing to compete for grants is time-consuming and schools should steel themselves for rejections even with specialist help. But you have to be in it to win it and this involves being resilient and meticulous so that you fully address the selection process and criteria.

Grant fundraising is a specific skill and bidding isn’t something you necessarily get good at the more you do. Winning a bid requires expertise.

Trying too hard can work against you and it is important to keep it simple and make your bid in a straightforward way without using jargon or acronyms. Getting a third party who doesn’t know your organisation to read your proposal is important.

To help you stand out from the crowd requires plenty of insight and guidance which is why some schools sign-up for practical workshops to learn how to write a successful grant application.

Funding bid training is available from a number of agencies.

If you are completely new bid writing and you are wondering where to start, some organisations will help you get going from ground zero and help you plan, research and write a funding application with expert advice on grant making policies and systems. The Directory of Social Change, offers a one-day course called Proposal Writing for Beginners.

Grant funding is an effective way of boosting your income. What have you got to lose? If you are willing to risk it, you can get more than the chocolate biscuit for your school.

Wondering for which grants you can apply? Check our list of sites here.

And of course, it wouldn’t be fair to get this far without checking that you’re saving money via your suppliers too. An annual licence for unlimited recruitment advertising remains the single most effective and cost-effective way to recruit for schools.


Author: John Dabel

John DabelJohn is an ex-primary school teacher and Ofsted inspector who has spent the last 20 years working in the education industry as a teacher, national in-service provider, project manager, writer and editor. John’s specialist area is primary maths but he also loves teaching science and English. John has written a number of educational and children’s books and contributed well over 1,000 articles, features, reviews and curriculum projects to various bodies, magazines, journals and institutions. John is Eteach’s school leadership and Ofsted advice guru – sharing monthly insights on best practice for motivating and enriching a school team, as well as sharing savvy career steps for headteachers and SLT.



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