Apply for funding

Opening School Facilities

Provided by the Department of Education, The Opening School Facilities funding runs for three years, to March 2025.

Grants of £5000 upwards are available each year for schools in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire.

Applications for this fund are currently paused. Please sign up to our newsletter (link on our home page) or keep an eye on our social media to find out when the next application window will open.

An image of several traditional football pitches

Please read the guidance below carefully before applying


The objective of the fund

The aim is to help schools to open their existing sport facilities, including school swimming pools, for a broader range of young people and to support the wider community by partnering
with sporting organisations, who can help deliver activities in these settings.

The programme will focus on the following:

  • Driving a youth informed community offer of activity on a school site in the most underserved communities.
  • The upskilling and capacity building of schools to create longer term plans to open their
    facilities for the benefit of the community.
  • To provide inspiring (young people want to), accessible (they can) and meaningful (they
    benefit) provision that helps improve physical activity levels and participation in their area.

Funding is provided by the Department for Education


Programme objectives

  1. To support schools to open their facilities outside of the normal school day
    (evenings, weekends, and holidays) to allow children & young people and the
    wider community to access more opportunities to be physically active.
  2. To open school swimming pools focusing on swimming and water safety
    lessons both during and outside the school day for pupils at their school and
    for pupils at other local schools.
  3. To provide participants with a range of stimulating and enjoyable
    opportunities to take part in physical activity and sport, in addition to that
    experienced within PE lessons and extra curricular activities.
  4. To ensure participants are signposted to take part in the same or similar
    activities in their local community, following the end of their participation in
    the programme

How much will the award be

Awards are from £5,000 upwards per year for up to three years. We expect most awards to be between £5,000 and £15,000 per year.


Programme timeline

This is a three year programme with schools engaging in Year 1 receiving funding each year in line with an agreed action plan and budget.

There may still be the option for schools to join in years 2 and 3 however, all allocated funds must be spent by March 2025.

The grant should not be used to fund capital expenditure. Where schools have an existing capitalisation policy, this should be used to determine whether proposed spending would be capital expenditure.

Year 1: Feb 23-Mar 23
Year 2: Apr 23-Mar 24
Year 3: Apr 24-Mar 25

For Year 1, the application process is as follows:

  • Open applications are live until 8am March 7th 2023
  • Applications reviewed by Think Active week commencing 6th March 2023
  • Successful schools invited to complete delivery plan
  • School delivery plans submitted March 10th 2023
  • Funding committed or spent by March 31st 2023

Who can apply

Non-fee paying, Primary, Secondary, Special and All-through schools are eligible to apply.

All applications received from schools will be reviewed and scored, with priority being given to schools who:

  1. Are located in areas of higher social deprivation
  2. Engage people from ethnically diverse communities, women and girls, pupil on free schools meals and those with  and those with special educational needs, long term health conditions and/or disabilities (SEND)
  3. Schools with a Swimming Pool

What can the grant be used for

  1. Supporting schools to open up to the community
  2. Help schools with their own pool on site to safely reopen
  3. Purchase additional sports, activity, and storage equipment (non-fixed items only)
  4. To improve the accessibility of school sports facilities (especially SEND)
  5. Additional short term staffing challenges
  6. Providing CPD opportunities for staff
  7. Develop existing websites
  8. Swimming for schools without pools (secondary top up for those who can’t swim)

What we can’t fund

We can’t fund the following:

  • Capital works
  • Items which only benefit an individual
  • The continuation of a project or a project that has taken place before
  • Projects that take place or incur costs before the date of the offer letter. This includes any form of deposits and costs associated in submitting the application
  • Projects involving travel to another country
  • Sponsorship, endowments or loan repayments
  • Activities promoting religious or political beliefs
  • Activities for children aged under 5

Funding criteria and notes

  • All selected schools must sign a grant agreement form
  • Minimum of a 12 week programme for indoor and outdoor facilities with opportunities to continue after the initial period
    (Year 1 is exempt from this due to timescale)
  • Minimum of a 6 week programme for swimming and water safety activities with opportunities to continue after the initial
    period (Year 1 is exempt from this due to timescale)
  • Commitment until March 2025 (Schools can plan a year at a time but the emphasis is focusing on sustainable change)
  • Indoor and outdoor activities can be delivered before school, after school, evenings, weekends and holidays (not including
    curriculum or current extra curriculum school activities). Lunchtime activities are eligible in Special Schools
  • Swimming activities can be delivered both during the school day, before and after school, evenings, weekends and holidays
  • Activities can be delivered in holidays, in conjunction with HAF and other programmes, but must target new participants
  • Needs to be a new or additional activity to what is already taking place
  • All eligible items for expenditure, must be paid for first and then claimed in arrears
  • All activities must evidence through reporting data monthly
  • All schools must agree to take part in a local and national evaluation of the programme
  • All schools must take part in the Active Lives Children and Young People Survey annually
  • All schools must agree to consider the Creating Active Schools Framework

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