Trust Capacity Fund (TCaF)

Posted: October 8, 2021

The Trust Capacity Fund (TCaF) is a competitive grant fund that will award up to £24 million over the 2021-22 financial year to help trusts develop their capacity to grow. The fund is organised into 2 strands:

  • Projects in which your trust will take on at least one additional inadequate or requires improvement school from one of the listed areas
  • All other trust capacity building projects

TCaF has a particular focus on supporting strong trusts, and strong schools forming trusts, to take on underperforming schools in areas of higher need.

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Your TCaF application must be linked to a clearly defined growth project that has been approved by a Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) at a headteacher board (HTB) between 1 January and 17 December 2021. This must commit you to:

  • Either take at least one new school into your trust by 31 March 2023
  • Or convert to academy status and take on at least two new schools that will submit a conversion application by 31 March 2022 (with all schools to be taken into your trust by 31 March 2023)

The following types of growth project are eligible for TCaF:

  • Applications from schools to convert to academy status and form a multi- academy trust (MAT)
  • Sponsor matches for schools with directive Academy Orders (dAOs)
  • Trust mergers, including a single academy trust (SAT) joining a larger MAT and SATs joining together to create new trusts
  • Academy transfers from one trust to another
  • Approved free school bid proposals

If you are an academy trust or local authority maintained school in England, to apply to either strand of TCaF you must:

  • Be considered by the Education and Skills Funding Agency to be of sound financial health. As a minimum requirement, you must not have an open Financial Notice to Improve.
  • Have a record of meeting, or driving improvements in, school standards. This can be demonstrated in two ways:
    • Either the majority of current schools in your trust / planned trust having a Good or Outstanding rating at their last Ofsted inspection.
    • Or 94% or more of the dAO academies you have taken on having received an improved Ofsted rating at their first inspection with the trust, and 80% or more of your other academies having remained stable or received an improved Ofsted rating since joining the trust.
  • Have an eligible growth project that has been approved by an RSC between 1 January and 17 December 2021.

SPM can support growing trusts to take control of their estates.

  • Improve visibility with detailed CAD plans and condition surveys across your entire estate
  • Scenario planning to discover if your estates are fit to meet current and future pupil capacity challenges
  • Ensure due diligence when expanding and acquiring new schools into the trust
  • Establishing centralised data sets to enable evidence-based decision making
  • Understanding the ‘state of your estate’ for strategic management and accurate prioritisation



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