Rural maintained schools set for expansion funding


Local authority maintained schools in rural areas are set to benefit from expansion funding for the first time in 2021, under new plans from the Department for Education.

The proposals are designed to encourage rural schools to become academies and form new chains, with the department adding another ‘strand’ to its trust capacity fund.

The scheme, which first launched in 2019, provides funding to help academy trusts to expand and innovate, to enhance mid-sized trusts and to support mergers between trusts.

Around £17 million is available through the fund, with schools able to apply for between £50,000 and £100,000.

Under the new plans, support will be available for ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ local authority-maintained schools in rural areas to “collaborate” and build “strong multi-academy trusts”.

Joining forces to boost attainment

It’s not the first time that the government has called for isolated schools to join together, as the Department for Education believes that doing so could help to boost attainment.

Academies minister Lord Agnew described academy trusts as being a “central part” of efforts to boost standards in schools.

“That’s why we’re launching another round of this fund, to back some of our highest performing academy trusts to tackle entrenched underperformance and support those schools that are most in need,” he said.

It is believed the move could result in greater support for those in teaching jobs and better collaboration within schools.

Schools wishing to make applications for the new funding can make them from 6 April 2020.

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