Trust Capacity Fund: 2020 TO 2021 Programme

Trust Capacity Fund: 2020 TO 2021 Programme

Trusts have already benefitted from £17 million courtesy of the 2019 Trust Capacity Fund (TCaF). From the 6 April 2020 trusts will be able to apply for the newest round of TCaF, which is set to award the same amount as its predecessor programme, to support their growth and development. The 2020 programme will also support the creation of strong multi-academy trusts by developing outstanding or good local authority maintained schools in rural hamlets and villages for the first time (see strand D below).


Applications can be made for the new TCaF either between 6 April 2020 and July 2020, or between September 2020 and December 2020. Funding activity will commence on 6 April 2020 and the Trust will need to assure that all funded activity is completed by 31 March 2021.

The five different strands that academy trusts can apply for this time round are:

  • A1: strong trusts can apply for a grant of £50,000 to £310,000 to use for growth and innovation in areas of long standing need.
  • A2: a £50,000 to £200,000 grant can be used by strong trusts to expand through the development of vulnerable academies and the conversion of maintained schools within the trust.
  • B: mid-sized trusts can strive to become strong trusts using a grant of £50,000 to £15,000.
  • C: grants valuing £50,000 to £100,000 can assist the expansion and development of both single academy trusts and existing trusts through mergers or priority projects identified by regional school commissioners.
  • D: grants of £50,000 to £100,000 may be used to create new strong multi-academy trusts through the conversion of outstanding or good local authority maintained rural schools.

One TCaF application may be made per trust per eligible growth proposal.


Unless a trust is subject to a Financial Notice to Improve, it may apply for a grant under strands A1, A2, B and C if it:

  1. adopts at least one school;
  2. has a clear plan on how it will efficiently and effectively use the funding received;
  3. is of sound financial health.

Additionally, some trusts will need to consent to a visit by a School Resource Management Advisor (SMRA).

Funding may be awarded under strands A1 and A2 if the below criteria is also satisfied:

  1. there are more than five schools in the trust;
  2. either 75% of the trust’s academies are converter academies which are at, or above, national average, or 50% of the trust’s converter and sponsored academies are at, or above, national average; and
  3. at least two of the programme’s performance criteria are satisfied by the trust (further details of which can be found here), which include:
    • school improvement;
    • progress; or
    • English Baccalaureate (EBacc).

In addition to the above, funding may be awarded under strand B if the trust is composed of at least three schools.

Good or outstanding local authority maintained rural schools (operating in a Rural Hamlet or Rural Village) may apply for a grant under strand D if they:

  1. have remained within the same progress metrics band, or improved;
  2. meet or exceed the national phonics average;
  3. meet or exceed 34.7% entry rate in the EBacc (where applicable);
  4. make an application for their conversion to an academy;
  5. have a clear plan on how the Multi Academy Trust will grow, which involves taking on at least two additional schools (which must also submit an application for their conversion before 31st March 2021);
  6. demonstrate how they will efficiently and effectively use the funding received; and
  7. consent to a visit by a SRMA

The aim of TCaF is the strengthening of trusts, rather than of individual schools. As a consequence, certain activities such as capital expenditure or those that occurred before 6th April 2020 will not be eligible for funding under this programme. Additionally and grants given under strand D cannot be used to cover the legal costs for the academy conversion.

More information can be found on the Department for Education’s guidance pages here.

This article is for general information only and does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you have any questions relating to your particular circumstances, you should seek independent legal advice. For further information on Michelmores’ Education Practice, please contact Tom Briant-Evans.