Alternative Provision Innovation Fund

Status: Open to applications
Application Deadline: 22 April 2018


A £4 million grant funding programme to support innovative practices that will deliver better outcomes for children in alternative provision.


Fund Value: £ 4,000,000

Value Notes

Up to £4 million is available in the AP Innovation Fund and DfE expect to fund approximately 10-15 projects.

The level of funding that is provided to each project will vary depending on the scale and quality of the proposals received. While there is no minimum or upper limit for grant awards, DfE expect to award grants of varying sizes in the range £150,000 - £750,000.

No grant is likely to be paid if it comprises more than 50% of an organisation's annual turnover.

Extended Description

The Department for Education (DfE) are launching this Innovation Fund to develop projects that will deliver better outcomes for children in Alternative Provision (AP) and to extend evidence-based projects to new settings. The fund will also enable DfE to share effective practice across the sector.
DfE will evaluate funded projects to strengthen the evidence base on effective practice and build knowledge and insights that can be shared with the sector. DfE expect all successful projects to participate fully in knowledge-sharing and networking events which will be organised through the fund; and to share their experiences with the wider AP sector and beyond.
Bids will be welcome within the following three themes:
  1. Supporting children to make good academic progress in AP and successful transitions from AP to education, training and employment at age 16 and beyond.
  2. Supporting children to reintegrate into suitable mainstream or special school placements, where this is in their best interests and compatible with the interests of other children at that school.
  3. Enabling better educational outcomes for children in AP by increasing parental or carer engagement.
The Innovation Fund will run for two academic years from September 2018 to July 2020.

Latest Information

The deadline for bids is 22 April 2018.
Decisions will be announced in June 2018.

Key Criteria

The sole organisation or lead body (if the proposal is a consortium/partnership bid) must be a school, college, university, local authority, voluntary, community or social enterprise (VCSE) organisation or other profit or non-profit organisation.
To be eligible, bidders must demonstrate that:
  • Work will be limited to within England
  • The whole bid is made on a not-for-profit basis
  • The bid must be designed to work within, or in partnership with, school(s), college(s) or other AP provider(s)
  • The bid does not include an application for any funding for activities that are already funded by the Government or other funders
  • The bid does not include an application for any funding for capital expenditure
  • The bid will directly impact children who are currently attending, or have recently attended, AP - this excludes, for example, early intervention in mainstream settings
  • They will work cooperatively with the evaluator, including by collecting and providing management information and participating in knowledge-sharing events organised through the fund.

Eligibile Expenditure

DfE are particularly interested in projects that would reach two or more AP settings; are commissioned by school partnerships; or will be delivered across a local area. However, recognising the diversity of the AP sector, DfE will consider bids that are of smaller scale if they are able to demonstrate clearly that they meet the assessment criteria set out below and could be meaningfully evaluated.

Application Procedure

Applications should be emailed to by the deadline.
Decisions will be announced in June 2018.

Addresses and contacts

Application forms may be available to download on their website.
Contact details:
AP Fund Enquiries
Department for Education (DFE)