The Strategic College Improvement Fund (SCIF) will support colleges to deliver better outcomes for learners, employers and local communities through partnership working with stronger ‘partnering’ colleges. The launch of SCIF follows a successful pilot phase, which saw fourteen colleges receive grants totaling over £2million. Outcomes from the pilot included colleges reporting that the fund-built awareness of good practice, fostered mutual learning and enabled rapid action to improve quality.
FE colleges and sixth-form colleges graded ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ at their most recent Ofsted inspection or recently merged colleges as ’new providers’ that have yet to be graded, are eligible to apply. Applicant colleges must also demonstrate that they have identified quality improvement need and that they have the capacity and a suitable approach for addressing that need.
SCIF grants of £80,000 and £200,000 will be awarded to colleges working with a partner college to undertake the programme of work outlined in the application. Applicant colleges are required to contribute at least 25% of the total costs of the improvement programme; partner colleges must also account for at least 25% of the total costs of the programme of work. An additional 10% of the total costs may fund targeted improvement activities that benefit the partner college. Some exceptions may be made to the match funding required with assessment based on the financial health of the applicant college. More information is available here.
The funding can cover a wide variety of activities that may include but is not limited to:
- Coaching of managers and other staff to improve their performance
- Instructional programmes to enhance staff skills to support teaching, learning and assessment
- More effective use of data to improve student performance
- Improved support to students, including better control over student attendance
- Enhanced design of the curriculum
- Strengthened relationships with employers (for example, via enhanced work-based learning)
- Monitoring and evaluation of the results of the programme of work
Stage One applications should be submitted by Friday 27 July 2018. Following assessment successful colleges will be offered support to continue to Stage Two.