However, unlike other sectors, the contracts and opportunities available are not always linked to the system’s overarching purpose: to facilitate learning. Instead, they are often linked to funding applications and grants which, though a proposal in every sense, differ from tendering in that the end intention of the buyer can be hard to define.
We have previously bid for funding from:
- European Social Fund
- Strategic School Improvement Fund
- Teaching and Learning Innovation Fund
- Skills Funding Agency (now Education and Skills Funding Agency)
- Flexible Learning Fund.
Within these grant applications, initiatives have varied significantly, from funding for improvement actions for schools in deprived areas to funding further research into IT solutions to assist specific subject areas and/or collate formative and summative assessment data. In many cases, the prompting information is open-ended, with aims including improving pupil outcomes and supporting pupil social mobility. To respond to this, would-be tenders require a firm grasp of their product’s functionality, and also the ideas and initiatives that underpin it.
There are many government contracts within the school business, such as primary schools and multi-academy trusts, or via local authorities education tenders that may cover a full region of school procurement. Although educational bids tend to facilitate learning or funding streams, there are also tenders into schools and educational establishments for all of their facility services. See more of our other industry sectors here for more information on supply chain opportunities for the education sector.
The education sector also encompasses training requirements; these opportunities are provided through an array of buyers, with previous examples including National College for Teaching and Leadership regional networks and first aid training for the Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester. In other scenarios, education and training requirements can be broader, such as providing general training opportunities targeting long term unemployed groups, NEETs, or any other areas (as typically defined by the DWP). Many of which may be framework agreements or dynamic purchasing systems to engage with multiple bidders. As always, monitoring live procurement processes can be done via Contracts Finder.
Proposals and bids alike can be resource-intensive; in a competitive environment like education, it can be difficult to balance the ongoing refinement of your innovative product or service with your goals for expansion. To complicate matters further, regardless of the service/product you provide, it must be presented in a way that meets the buyer’s sometimes unclear agendas and initiatives.