This opportunity is closed for applications

The deadline was Wednesday 18 May 2022
Standards and Testing Agency (STA), an executive agency of the Department for Education (DfE)

Multiplication Tables Check (MTC) Support - STA 0294/ Jaggaer Ref: Project_6030

1 Incomplete application

1 SME, 0 large

2 Completed applications

2 SME, 0 large

Important dates

Wednesday 4 May 2022
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 11 May 2022 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 18 May 2022 at 11:59pm GMT


Off-payroll (IR35) determination
Contracted out service: the off-payroll rules do not apply
Summary of the work
Maintain and support the live running of the multiplication tables check service.

Continuously improve the service in-between cycles based on user feedback, research and data from application insights, continue annual MTC delivery.

Maintain and improve MTC CICD build pipeline in Azure DevOps

Support and collaborate with other STA digital projects
Latest start date
Monday 1 August 2022
Expected contract length
2 Years
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
Standards and Testing Agency (STA), an executive agency of the Department for Education (DfE)
Budget range
C 1.1m Budget including expenses for attendance at site monthly and adhoc meetings quarterly. Budget based on time and materials (21 working day month) with expectation 25 days annual leave for each contractor.

About the work

Why the work is being done
The multiplication tables check (MTC) is a digital assessment administered to year 4 pupils in June. The MTC service is live from March to October and supports administration of the check, including registering pupils, applying adjustments, generating PINS and passwords to access the check and publishing pupil results.

STA reviews feedback and user research each year and considers enhancements to the service to improve the user journey, development work takes place from October to January, Assurance activity takes place in February e.g., IT health check.

Contract start date 01 August 2022, with hand over from existing supplier until 1 September.

Interviews for this application are planned from 27th June to 4th July.
Problem to be solved
To support the live running of the MTC service, including maintaining technical documentation and maintaining and enhancing the CICD pipeline. All new development and enhancements must be made between cycles and must be quality assured and always have the end school users central to development activity.

In addition, planning for continued maintenance and enhancement of MTC for future cycles.

Estimated userbase for each cycle is c16k primary schools with 2-3 administrative users each, 650k year 4 pupils to sit the check, 15-30 internal helpdesk users, and small number of key internal STA users (service manager and assessment developer)
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a Teacher - I complete (all onscreen) check administration tasks - i.e. pupil register, access arrangements, generation of pupil PINs, arrange restarts, and (post-check) sign declaration and view results; so that pupils can take the check, and receive support.

As a Pupil - I take the check, so I demonstrate fluent recall of tables.

As a Service Manager – I set up check cycles, review system performance and MI so I can identify trends and issues.

As a Test Developer - I upload check forms, and review their performance so they remain valid.

As a Helpdesk user - I impersonate school screens see so I can support users.

As a user researcher - I perform database analysis to identify user interaction trends

There are other non direct users, such as statisticians who need access to data to produce statistical publications
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
The MTC service has been in development since January 2016 and passed all essential GDS assessments. In 2019, the service ran a national voluntary pilot in which approximately two thirds of the pupil population participated (c10k schools and 400k pupils). Significant improvements have been made to the service since this pilot. However, the 2020 cycle was suspended, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2021 cycle ran on an optional basis for schools with approx 10k schools participating. The 2022 cycle will be the first statutory year where all schools must participate.
Existing team
The STA will provide:

Senior Service Manager, Senior Delivery Manager, Service Delivery Team Leader, Delivery Manager

The existing supplier, with contract expiry of 1 September, consists of 1 x Technical Architect, 1 x Full stack developer and 1 x Quality Assurance to continue work through backlog and be in a position to enable a handover to any new supplier
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
While suppliers will generally be expected to work remotely, STAs main centre of operations is at Cheylesmore House, Coventry, and suppliers will be expected to attend this office for occasional (potentially quarterly) planning sessions. There may also be some additional travel requirements needed at the beginning of the contract to enable key STA stakeholders and the supplier to build a new relationship and establish ways of working.
Working arrangements
The MTC works through Test Driven Development within agile Kanban methodology with WiP limit of 2 items and expectation that 85% of all items make it through build pipeline within 10 working days. The supplier is expected to use data on PBIs in Azure DevOps and report monthly on this target.

Majority of work will be completed remotely, using tools like Teams, Azure devOps, Sharepoint and Slack. Travel will be kept to a minimum. All 3 staff should be full time over a flexible working week with peak period between March and June (core working hours between 8am - 6pm).
Security clearance
Due to the high number of sensitive pupil records in the service, all contractors will be expected to be cleared to BPSS minimum before commencement. Evidence of cyber essential plus certification also required with bid.

More info:

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
DfE shall have the right to terminate the Contract at any time, by giving 28 days written notice to the Supplier, and DfE's liability thereto shall be limited to costs reasonably incurred by the Supplier up until the termination date only.

All IPRs (as defined) in the Project-Specific IPRs and the Deliverables shall vest in the Buyer unconditionally and immediately upon their creation. The Supplier shall procure all necessary permissions or licence from relevant third parties as necessary to allow the Buyer to receive the Services and use the deliverables.

Suppliers should have and maintain a cyber essentials plus certificate

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Essential skills and experience
  • Examples of delivering high quality user orientated digital services practising Kanban Methodology and meet the GDS Digital Service Standard/Tech Code of Practice
  • Examples of in house expertise in developing production ready open source code for private/public Beta releases and use of GitHub; and Azure DevOps
  • Expertise in automated (testing) environments and implementing continuous integration, delivery & deployment using languages such as Ruby, Java Script, Typescript, Bash and SQL
  • Technical Architecture: Proven experience in scale on demand, high performance web based applications and practical application of encryption to ensure a secure online system at all times
  • Demonstrate proven capability and experience in: NodeJS with SQL Server on Azure. Use of Redis Cache, Azure and associated services such as FrontDoor and ServiceBus
  • Experience in developing SPA’s – the check is designed to ensure Pupils are focused throughout the check, with many standard features of web browsers disabled.
  • Examples of tamper proofing of browser data with encryption is also required in the response.
  • Evidence of development on browser features, (ie speech synthesis), can be leveraged by users on multiple OS: ie iOS, MacOS, Windows (7 and up), android and Linux
  • Security - supplier must provide evidence of the NCSC Cyber Essentials Plus Certificate and how they ensure BPSS clearance of all contractors
  • Expertise of Application Insights and monitoring performance and security of the services. Please provide real life examples
  • Examples of how suppliers have supported wider organisational aims of a buyer to improve services to all users
  • Expertise of maintaining and developing CICD build pipelines in Azure DevOps and ensuring controlled releases
  • Examples of how development is managed to achieve and maintain WCAG 2.1 accessibility compliance
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrate experience of managing and proactively engaging a diverse range of internal and external (public sector) stakeholders and building relationships to support digital transformation
  • Demonstrate experience of delivering national services for UK government departments and/or public bodies;
  • Demonstrate knowledge and experience of working in the English state schools/statutory education sector.

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Evidence that your proposed approach and methodology for delivery will successfully deliver working software to meet user needs and meet specified acceptance criteria.
  • Proposed supplier team structure, with evidence to demonstrate a strong team and how their skills and experience will deliver the required outcomes.
  • Demonstration of ability to work with multi-disciplinary DfE/STA in-house teams with limited technical and Agile-project management expertise.
  • Evidence of how the proposal represents excellent value for money / best value
  • Evidence of the required technical capabilities to provide immediate impact and working software
  • How supplier has previously identified risks from a handover between suppliers and how they will manage these risks
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate experience of managing and proactively engaging a diverse range of internal and external (public sector) stakeholders and building relationships to support digital transformation
  • Be able to work with clients with low technical expertise
  • Be open and honest when spikes need addressing to find the right technical solution to a problem
  • Be open about technical debt that needs addressing and challenge priorities if it needs addressing
  • Provide evidence of a proactive approach, taking responsibility for work and resolving issues quickly, without an over reliance on the client team
  • Provide evidence of how your organisation supports a no-blame culture and how it encourages people to learn from their mistakes
  • Provide evidence of supporting mental and physical health and wellbeing in the workplace
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Would STA accept a team based in a Near Shore location that could meet the BPSS requirements and meet the required meeting commitments?
2. Could you please tell us what you mean by SPA’s, is this referring to a single point of access or something else?
SPA stands for Single-Page Application
3. Would STA accept a team based in a Near Shore location that could meet the BPSS requirements and meet the required meeting commitments?
The team must be UK based and able to attend infrequent face to face meetings.
4. Could you give an example of the type of tamper-proofing with encryption you mean?
Pupil results are submitted from a browser-based application that expects the pupil to have taken the check themselves and have answered the questions without interference
5. Which browser features are being disabled as part of the SPA?
Browser navigation is currently disabled as part of the SPA
6. When you say “development on browser features” what do you mean? Does this mean using browser-specific technologies across multiple platforms?
This refers to development that incorporates existing and new browser features, for example utilising local storage.
7. Please can you confirm if there is an incumbent supplier providing this service, and the name of the supplier if applicable?
The current incumbent supplier is Olive Jar Digital.
8. The off-payroll IR35 determination status is listed as off-payroll rules do not apply (outside IR35). However, there are aspects within the listed opportunity (i.e. is T&M not outcomes based, includes expenses for attendance at site monthly and ad-hoc meetings quarterly, and working in a blended STA led team) which do not lend themselves to an outside IR35 status. Please confirm the Off-payroll (IR35) determination status and that STA will provide a Status Determination Statement when required to do so.
"The current view is that Off-payroll
rules (IR 35 ) do not apply.
This will be reviewed with the supplier at the award stage."