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Grants for schools and colleges

Grants for schools and colleges

Update for January 2023: We are pleased to announce that due to the generosity of our funders, our grants programme is now open for applications again!

Our grants for schools and colleges are designed to:

  • connect pupils and staff with the special qualities of the National Park, through outdoor, nature-based and real-world learning experiences in the South Downs National Park
  • support curriculum-linked and/or health and wellbeing outcomes for pupils.

Grant categories

    • School trips – transport costs
    • School trips – provider costs
    • School trips – self-led visits


    All state-funded schools and colleges with 10% or more pupils eligible for Free School Meals, are eligible to apply for a grant of up to £750 (up to £250 provider and up to £500 transport) towards the costs of a school trip with an education provider*, or for a self-led visit (transport costs only), in the South Downs National Park.

    We use the “Get information about schools service” as our data source to confirm percentage of Free School Meals.

    • Applications must be made only for new activities; applications will not be accepted for a booking that has already been confirmed or completed.
    • Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. If your application is successful, you will be sent an email to confirm the grant. We aim to respond within five working days.
    • Your school may be awarded a maximum of only one grant per academic year.
    • Visits and trips can take place during term-time or during the school holidays, but must have been taken before the end of August 2023.

    How do I apply?

    • Choose a site to visit and/or agree a provisional date with a learning provider and get quotes for provider costs and/or travel costs.
    • Use our directory to help find a site or provider.
    • Plan your transport for school trips. Think sustainable. Your travel claim can include costs of (for example) bike hire, and additional staff to support bike rides or walks.
    • Download a School Grants Application Form
    • After your visit or trip, please complete the evaluation form section (which you’ll find on page 2 on the application form) and send it, with a copy of the invoice/s or receipt/s, to learning@southdowns.gov.uk.
    • Payment of your grant will be made to the bank account nominated on your completed application form.

    We recognise that:

    • increased time spent in outdoor spaces will benefit mental health and wellbeing
    • access to larger-scale landscapes like National Parks is an important part of our connection to, and relationship with, nature
    • pupils who participate in adventure learning interventions make approximately four additional months’ progress. (According to the Education Endowment Fund Learning toolkit, with the exception of smaller class sizes, this has the largest influence on academic attainment of all interventions.)

    The grants are administered and funded by the South Downs National Park Authority, with additional funding from the South Downs National Park Trust, on behalf of the South Downs Learning Network; over 100 sites, centres and providers delivering outdoor, nature-based and real-world learning for schools to support curriculum and health and wellbeing outcomes.

    *The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) administers these grants to help schools connect with education sites and providers. The SDNPA bears no responsibility for the services provided by these organisations and schools are responsible for checking appropriate safety standards and liability insurance when using an outside organisation and should follow the government guidance at when planning any educational visits.

    Subscribe to our mailing list  to make sure you are kept up to date with news about our grants programme and news from across the National Park learning network.

    Other grants

    The South Downs National Park Trust offers a range of grants and competitions to help schools, colleges and young people engage with the special qualities of the National Park.

    Visit their website for more information – www.southdownstrust.org.uk/schools



    " The Downs...too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness. "