Trust Fund Capacity Application Support for Rural Schools

Trust Fund Capacity Application Support for Rural Schools

In February 2020 headteachers from rural localities were highlighting how a gap in provision for rural pupils could be exacerbated if they were forced to learn at home due to the subsequent school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. At the same time, the Rural Commission in Yorkshire called for evidence on the challenges and opportunities surrounding schools and education in the county, predominantly aligned to “small rural schools facing a very tough financial situation”.

It was therefore timely and helpful that in February the Department for Education added a fifth strand to its 2020 Trust Capacity Fund, known as TCaF which launched in 2019. Essentially, the fund is designed to continue to support existing academy trusts to grow and innovate, to accelerate the development of mid-sized trusts and to support mergers between trusts.

In 2020, the fifth strand of funding will be available to support ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’ local authority-maintained schools in rural hamlets and villages collaborate and create new, strong multi-academy trusts. Successful rural-situated applicants in this category will receive between £50,000 and £100,000.

Relevant schools will be eligible to apply for this strand as a lead school if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ Local Authority maintained school
  • Operate in a Rural Village or Rural Hamlet setting, as defined by the Rural Urban classification on GOV.UK
  • They identify two other local partner schools in the application, who will be expected to submit applications to join the new trust by 30 March 2021, and to actually join the trust by 31 March 2022, as a condition of funding.

Rural Local Authority maintained schools with an Ofsted rating of ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ but not meeting the specific progress metrics above are eligible to be partner schools, but cannot be the lead school in the application.

If you are a rural school interested in submitting a TCaF application, Place Group can support you with this. For an initial discussion please either email us at or call us on 0845 548 5677.