Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in Schools 2024/25

We are excited to announce that the DfE Schools Water Strategy is now inviting applications from delivery partners for the Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in school(s) project. One of the aims of the SuDS in school project is the reduction of the surface water risk in the school. The SuDS in school(s) grant funding contributes towards both the design and construction of the SuDS features installed in the school estate. The full application guidance which provides details of the eligibility, objectives, how to apply etc. is included in the sections below.

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The DfE are interested in working with delivery partners to reduce the risk of surface water flooding to schools. In addition to reducing surface water flood risk to schools this could also reduce the strain on local drainage. The DfE will consider contribution towards large, medium and small Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) projects and is interested in delivering incremental improvements in surface water flooding risk reduction / adaption across the estate. 

The main SuDS Scheme types we will be considering are:

·       Small schemes that have minimal design/engineering e.g. small planters, small rain gardens, and tree pits.

·       Medium schemes e.g. medium sized planters, medium sized rain gardens.

·       Large schemes that require significant design and engineering e.g. swales, re-landscaping and green solar roofs.

Please note: The list provided above is not an exhaustive list but just serves to provide an indication of the types of schemes this grant would be eligible for.

The DfE contribution amount will be based on our assessment of surface water risk to school sites, based on the Environment Agency (EA) data. The percentile contributions will vary depending on if the school is a primary or secondary school as well as the type of SuDs installed.

The DfE is interested in working with delivery partners on all sizes of SuDS schemes.

We are welcoming applications from delivery partners either as a stand-alone project or as part of a wider scope of work.

Applicants will be required to provide project timelines as part of the application form.



The following partners, in England, are within scope of this grant:

·       All state-funded schools in England (Primary and Secondary Schools, and DfE funded sixth forms who are typically part of a Secondary School).

·       Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA).

·       Water Company (WC).

·       Non-Profit Organisation.

*All eligible partners/contributors will be subject to Departmental finance checks prior to acceptance

Match Funding Requirement:

There is a match funding requirement to be eligible for this grant. DfE will contribute up to 50%** of the total project cost for the SuDS in school project.

Therefore, you will be required to contribute the remaining 50% for the project. The 50% contribution can be either directly from your organisation or other funding partners. If additional contributions are secured from other partner(s) towards the project, you are required to provide the names of the partner(s), their company registration details and the value of their contribution.

As part of your application, we require partners to submit a list of schools they are planning to install SuDS features in. This list must include the school(s):

·       URN (unique reference number).

·       Name and

·       Postcode.

The above information for each school can be found on Get Information About Schools.

Your scheme application will be assessed against the following metrics for each individual schools therein:

·       Surface water risk score. This can be found on the Environment Agency website (You will need the school’s postcode).

·       The Return on Investment (ROI) to DfE as calculated by our Flood Cost Model***.

**The SuDs contribution is based on several factors, such as the surface water flood risk, the type of project, school type, etc.,

***Our DfE Flood Cost Model considers a number of factors which includes but not limited to, surface water risk (based on EA data); current school risk cover; potential lost educational days; etc


The department will be supporting partners in developing their SuDs for Schools programme by collaborating with schools at risk. The SuDS programme delivers a number of benefits, such as the;  

·       reduction of water entering the sewer system,  

·       reduction of risk of the school flooding from surface water, 

·       improved customer engagement, and  

·       education of communities on sustainable water management.  

These benefits align with the departments targets to reduce the risk of flooding within schools.  

Partners shall use all reasonable endeavours to achieve the following objectives:

·       To reduce the surface water risk on school sites.

·       To provide educational benefits on sustainability and climate change,

·       To increase biodiversity on school sites through blue or green infrastructure, and

·       Successfully project manage the design and installation of agreed SuDs features on the school site.

Delivery of the SuDS in Schools project will be delivered in two phases. 

·       design of the SuDS features in line with the individual school requirements, and   

·       installation of the agreed SuDS features.

Please Note: Both stages need to be completed before the full grant can be released.


The application will be live for 12 weeks. Applications opened on Friday 18th August 2023 and will close on Friday 17th November 2023. 

The application sift and internal decision process will conclude in February 2023. This timeframe is dependent on the volume of applications received. 

Applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application in February early March 2024.

How to apply

Please complete application form

 Further information and prompts have been provided for each question. Some sections will require accompanying text to support your response and have stated word limits. Please ensure that you adhere to these, as your response beyond the word limit will not be considered. There are some mandatory sections and must be completed for your application to be accepted.

Please email if you having any issues accessing the application form.

Supporting information

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Will proposals be considered if the surface water flood risk of a school is low, even if projects will reduce the strain on local drainage? 

A1: Yes, proposals that includes schools with low surface water flood risk will be considered however, the proposal will still be reviewed against other eligibility criteria in this Find a Grant advert. 

Q2: In term of 50% funding, can parties donate "in kind" as part of this?  

A2: Yes, contributions in kind are acceptable to the project as long as your financial due diligence of the Contributor can be made available to the National Audit Office if requested. However, the Contribution in Kind must have a defined monetary value, as we cannot match fund against non-monetary contributions. We will require the contributing organisation details.  

Q3: Could you give an indication as to what percentage of the grant (if any) would be released for the design stage/ and then at installation stage please, or does this mean no funds would be released until the project is completed? 

A3: The grant award is for both design and construction work involved in the project. If your application is successful, the grant is paid in arrears. The percentage of grant released for designs and construction work is dependent on what has been agreed in the payment schedule in the Grant Funding Agreement. Payment claim schedules are to be agreed on a project-by-project basis.   

Q4: What would happen if we got to detailed design stage and the costs were projected to be different than the total we initially estimated? Would the amount award in the grant change too? 

A4: Please be as accurate as possible with your estimated total project costs for your application as the DFE can only contribute up to 50% of the overall project value, however the total grant contribution amount is dependent on several criteria.

Q5: I have seen that the successful applicants would need to match fund contributing up to 50% of the total project cost.  If we applied for, and were successful in obtaining, a grant but the match funding wasn’t within the realms of our budget once the total cost was advised, would we be able to withdraw our application? 

A5: Yes, you can withdraw your application if you are unable to meet the match funding contribution requirement. You will need to notify the DfE in writing of your intention to withdraw.  The DfE Grant Funding Agreement Terms and Conditions would apply if the agreement has been signed.