Frequently Asked Questions
These answers will give you important information about SCF projects.
The SCF 2020/21 Pilot
How many projects have we included in the 2020/21 pilot?
For our 2020/21 pilot, SCF approached schools in three areas: Southampton, Oxfordshire and Brighton/East Sussex. These were chosen as areas where we already have contacts, where we were already aware of need. We approached a few schools, colleges and other provisions in each area, with a view to awarding two grants in each area.
Is it possible to apply for a grant if you are not in a pilot area?
For our 2020/21 pilot, we are not operating an open application system. Pilot projects were drawn from areas where we already have contacts, where we were already aware of need. We will not therefore accept or process applications which are outside these areas during our pilot.
Who Can Apply
We are a special school/college, can we apply for a grant?
No, SCF grants are awarded to mainstream secondary schools, college or other educational provision. If you are a special school or college and have an idea for a project that could support transition to mainstream provision, then contact the mainstream school concerned to see if they would be interested in submitting an application.
I am a parent of an autistic young person, can I apply for a grant?
SCF only gives grants to schools, colleges or other educational provision where autistic young people are supported to access mainstream education. This support may include working closely with parents. Get in touch with your child’s educational provision, let them know about SCF and they may be interested in submitting an application. Having you, as a parent, on board will add value to an application.
We’re an organisation that supports families of autistic children, can we apply for grants?
SCF only gives grants to schools, colleges or other educational provision where autistic young people are supported to access mainstream education. This support may include working closely with local organisations who support families of autistic young people. We advise getting in touch with local provision and exploring how you can work together - but remember the application has to come from them. Working closely with local organisations will strengthen an application.
I am a young person with autism, can I apply for a grant?
SCF only gives grants to schools, colleges or other educational provision where autistic young people are supported to access mainstream education. Start a conversation with the people who teach you, let them know about SCF. Share any ideas you have for things you know will really help you to learn or to feel happy and calm. Applications where the ideas have come from young people will be strong, so you can really help to add value.
Can we submit an application from our Academy Trust or does it have to be from one single school, college or other provision?
Only schools, colleges or other educational provision can apply for funding. A Trust or Local Authority can support an establishment to apply, or submit an application on behalf of a school, but the application must come from one single establishment. That establishment will be the grantee with whom SCF will have an agreement and on-going relationship.
Can we join with a partner school, or partner organisation and submit a joint application?
We welcome proposals where schools come together to collaborate; this will really enhance any potential impact. However, you should identify a lead establishment who would submit the application, and with whom we would have a grant agreement. In question 1 on your application form you can tell us about who you are working with.
We will not accept an application from an organisation that is not a school, college or other educational establishment. However, a partnership with a local organisation may strengthen an application - make this clear in questions 1 and 4 on your application form.
We are a primary school, can we apply for a grant?
No, SCF grants are given to secondary schools, college or other educational provision. If you have an idea for a project that could support transition to secondary school then contact the secondary school concerned to see if they would be interested in submitting an application.
Thinking about applying for a grant?
Can an SCF grant be used to support young people who have other special needs and disabilities?
SCF gives grants which enable autistic young people to access mainstream education. It is an essential critieria that the project you propose supports autistic young people. Sometimes, projects may include young people with other special educational needs and disabilities as well as autistic young people. Including other young people can be a strength if the aim is to facilitate inclusion. You need to make all of these things clear in your application.
We have a really successful service in school but the funding is being cut. Could we apply to SCF for funding to continue it?
This depends on what the service is. SCF does not fund support or interventions which would be considered ‘statutory provision’. By this we mean activities that are or should be provided by the school or Local Authority as part of their agreed provision, particularly where a need has been assessed and there is a responsibility for a service to be provided.
In your application, make it clear how this is something that the school has developed in addition to ‘business as usual’. We’ll want to have evidence of impact, and we’ll want to see how this is innovative and creative - not just more of the same.
Can we submit more than one application?
Schools, colleges and other provisions are welcome to submit multiple applications, even in a pilot. However, remember that completing a good application takes time. Consider the criteria against which we will judge applications.
It is unlikely that we would give more than one grant to any one establishment in any one round of grants.
Can we apply if we need funding for a project that’s longer than two years?
SCF grants are for projects which last one year. However, we will consider continuation funding if the one-year project is showing signs of its outcomes being met, and there are indications that a longer project will be even more impactful. We will need to see evidence of the impact and a clear description of how a second grant will build on what has already happened.
Making a decision about who gets a grant
How will a decision be made to award a grant?
After you submit your grant application you will receive an email confirming that we have received it. We will do a basic check to see if you have submitted all the information we need, if your organisation meets our minimum standards for grant-making and if you have applied for a project we are able to fund. We will then review your application against a set of criteria, taking into consideration all the information you have provided.
Please note as we are funding a limited number of projects for our pilot grant-giving programmes, not all applications will be successful. You will be informed of the decision by email. We may also contact you to ask any additional questions we may have about your application.
What are SCF minimum standards for grant-making?
The first things we check when we get an application are:
- Is the application from a secondary school, college or other educational provision?
- Do they support autistic young people to access mainstream education?
- Is the project aiming to impact on learning and/or mental health of autistic young people?
- Have all the questions been answered?
There is a list of the kind of projects we do and don’t fund on our website. It’s also important to read the criteria against which your application will be reviewed when we’re making a decision.
What do you mean by ‘over and above what is statutory provision’?
We don’t want to replicate support or interventions that are, or should be provided by the school or Local Authority as part of their agreed provision - things they HAVE to do. So, for example, we won’t fund the delivery of something which is part of the curriculum, or something which is identified in a young person’s education, health and care plan. We also won’t fund applications where a statutory agency (such as a local authority or health service) has assessed a need and has a responsibility to fund but has failed to do so.
We know that provision varies from place to place, and so we expect you to make it clear in your application how this is above and beyond what is provided by your provision or Local Authority.
A main aim is that funding should help young people access mainstream education - what does this include?
This can be many things and will depend on the autistic young person or people being supported. However, it can include after school or out of school activities. It can also include working with other organisations, agencies or parents. The important thing is that you make it clear in your application how your project helps young people access mainstream education with impacts on education and/or mental health.
After you have been successful in your grant application
What will happen once I have been successful in my grant application?
If you are successful, you will be allocated a link SCF representative and in your first conversation with them, you’ll agree various practical aspects to do with the grant. This includes agreeing final outcomes, timeline, payment schedule, bank details and reporting schedule.
In some cases, we may need more information, or for some changes to be made so you will need to wait for final confirmation of your grant. These are usually details that need to be tweaked, such as tightening the outcomes or altering how the budget is allocated.
Once confirmed, you will then submit an outline plan using our simple planning template, which includes authorisation by your school Headteacher or equivalent. The plan will be reviewed by your SCF representative, and once it has been approved you will be ready to start your project. This will all take up to three weeks.
Grantees report on how they are doing against up to three measurable outcomes using a simple progress report template. The number of reports needed will depend on the size of grant, but we’ll need to know how you’re doing before we can release instalments of your grant.
SCF trustees will be interested in visiting some projects to see the impact of grants, and yours may be selected. We’ll give you plenty of notice and an idea of what to expect, but the visits are low-key and will have a focus on SCF engaging with your work.
If we are successful and are awarded a grant, when will money be released?
If you applied for the 2020/21 pilot grant-making programme you will have been informed by 1st September whether your application has been successful and contacted by a SCF representative to do some initial planning with you. Part of this involves completing a simple project plan with key milestones. You will upload your completed plan to the online portal and when this has been approved, we will release the first instalment of your grant. There will be up to three instalments depending on the size and nature of the project. The sooner we get your plan, the sooner the funds will be released. This can happen quickly, usually between 1-3 weeks after you have been notified about your grant.
Once we’ve started, can we make changes to the project?
All grant holders are allocated a SCF representative who will be the main point of contact. They will support you to plan out your project and agree a reporting schedule. However, we know that schools, colleges and other educational provision are dynamic institutions. We’re also aware that a change to legislation, or a local event of disaster such as weather, flooding/storm damage, or a pandemic can result in changes to circumstances. SCF is a listening organisation and we are keen to work collaboratively with our grant holders.
You must discuss and agree any proposed changes with your SCF representative in advance of any changes taking place. Prepare for the discussion by thinking through and sharing a clear rationale for any changes. If it is possible to keep outcomes the same this is preferable, but we know this is not always possible.
Once we’ve started, how often do we have to keep in touch with SCF?
Once your project has started, your main point of contact with SCF will be your SCF representative. They will agree a reporting schedule with you which will vary according to the size and length of your project. Usually this is one or two progress reports, and then a final report. You will receive automatic email reminders before the report is due.
Your SCF representative will not expect any more contact than the progress reports, but if you have any questions, or if something has happened meaning that you need to make any changes then you should get in touch with them.
There may also be times when your SCF representative needs to contact you. For example, an SCF Trustee may want to visit your project to see the impact of SCF grants. We’ll give you plenty of notice and an idea of what to expect, but these are low key and will have a focus on SCF engaging with your work.
During a pilot, SCF will also be in touch to have a conversation with you, or to ask you to fill in a questionnaire to help us evaluate the pilot.
If we have had one grant, can we apply for another one?
Being successful once does not prevent you from applying for further funding. This may be for:
- extending an existing funded project, when we’ll need to see evidence of impact and a clear description of how this second grant will build on what has already happened.
- a completely new project with different intended outcomes.
For applicants who are unsuccessful
Why haven’t I made it through the first stage of the application process?
If you answer ‘no’ to any of the questions in the eligibility questionnaire then you will not be able to proceed to stage two.
If we fail the eligibility questionnaire, can we have another go?
Yes, but we advise you to look carefully at the eligibility questionnaire questions. Some of these you will be able to change the answer by changing something in your application. Some will be more difficult, for example: We are a secondary school, college or alternative secondary education provision in England.
If you answer ‘no’ to any of the questions in the eligibility questionnaire then you will not be able to proceed to stage two.
Can we apply again if our application is unsuccessful?
Yes, you can reapply when the next round of funding is open.
Can we appeal if our application is unsuccessful?
The SCF Board of Trustees make the final decision about which grants are allocated, and their decision is final. It is not possible to appeal against this decision. However, in our communication with you, we include general feedback about the reasons for your application being unsuccessful.
We get a huge number of applications for grant funding, and the decisions made about how to allocate the amount of money we have to give can be difficult. We sometimes have to make hard decisions according to the amount available that we have to allocate. The criteria against which we make judgements to assist this process can be found here. In some funding rounds, we will also have a specific focus and if this is the case, we will communicate this clearly on our website.
Questions about the application process
How long does it take for you to process an application? When will I hear the outcome once I’ve submitted the form?
The process, from when you start your application to being notified whether you have been awarded a grant normally takes around two months. This will be longer if we have to come to you for more information. We will usually give a date of when you can expect a decision.
If I need help with the application form, who should I ask?
The first stop for help with completing an application is our Guidance for Grant Applicants, which includes lots of useful practical support.
We also advise you to read through all of our Frequently Asked Questions as they also provide lots of support and help.
If you still have questions, you can get in touch by emailing us at email@example.com.