Awarded to Engine Partners UK LLP (Transform)

Start date: Monday 11 June 2018
Value: £392,151
Company size: large
Department for Education

Digital discovery and alpha of school experience for teacher training candidates

5 Incomplete applications

3 SME, 2 large

24 Completed applications

14 SME, 10 large

Important dates

Thursday 26 April 2018
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 3 May 2018 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 10 May 2018 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
DfE require a highly skilled, collaborative supplier with experience delivering digital services that meet users' needs and is in line with the GDS Digital Service Standard to deliver the discovery and alpha of the School Experience Programme. DfE reserves the right not to proceed to Alpha following the Discovery phase.
Latest start date
Monday 11 June 2018
Expected contract length
Expected to be a maximum of 18 weeks for Discovery and Alpha phases.
North West England
Organisation the work is for
Department for Education
Budget range
£288, 000 - £432, 000

About the work

Why the work is being done
The School Experience Programme is an initiative to support potential Initial Teacher Training applicants in their decision to teach, enabling them to gain experience of classroom life prior to joining an ITT course. The current digital method for schools to advertise opportunities and candidates to book these experiences is coming to an end on 1 October 2018 and we wish to understand the needs for a service to enable candidates to gain school experience.
Problem to be solved
The Department would like to discover the needs of candidates who want to arrange school experience and the needs of schools who want to offer placements. If a new service is to be built, it must be available from 1 October 2018.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a candidate, I need to gain school experience so that I can be sure that I am suited to teaching and be confident that I am making the right choice. As a school offering school experience, I want candidates to come to my school for experience so that I have opportunities to identify and recruit high quality candidates. We would expect the supplier to further define user-stories as part of the discovery phase.
Early market engagement
We contacted Transform, DXW and Equal Experts; and advised we will be posting a DOS procurement week of 23 April 2018.
Any work that’s already been done
Some discovery has already occurred and will be made available to the successful supplier.
Existing team
Senior Responsible Officer (Assistant Director), Product Owner. The supplier will be expected to engage with other suppliers in the DfE to ensure integration of the outcome with other services that are in operation.
Current phase
Not started

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Department for Education, Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester, M1 2WD, with travel to undertake user needs research as required.
Working arrangements
Co-located working principally from the DfE's Manchester office, maximising opportunity for engagement with the policy unit and stakeholders. Some travel to meet users is expected. In relation to expenses, this must be included in the contract sum, there is not a separate budget for expenses. Operate a standard agile scrum methodology: daily stand-us, sprint planning, sprints, retrospectives, show and tells. Supplier will lead by being a role model in agile working. Collaboration with DfE team required and to invest time in knowledge sharing and coaching to increase DfE staff capability.
Security clearance
BPSS as a minimum.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
"All expenses must be agreed in advance by the authority and should comply with DfE Travel & Subsistence Policy, which will be provided at the proposal stage of the process.

All suppliers are obliged to provide sufficient guarantees to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures so that the processing meets the requirements of GDPR and ensures the protection of the rights of data subjects. For further information please see the Information Commissioner's Office website: "

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
  • Recent and demonstrable experience in delivering evidence-based research to inform a user-centred design, focused on user needs, end-to-end user journeys, motivations and goals. (2%)
  • Recent and demonstrable experience of designing and developing digital services that meet identified user needs and business objectives. (2%)
  • Recent demonstrable experience delivering discovery agile projects according to Government Digital Standards (GDS), including GDS Service Design Manual; the Digital Service Standard Assessment;Technology Code of Practice;wider industry standards. (2%)
  • Recent and demonstrable evidence of managing and delivering discovery and alpha projects, meeting all requirements and successfully delivering outcomes within specified timescales. (2%)
  • Recent and demonstrable experience of working with in-house teams with limited Agile experience and sharing knowledge to develop in-house team capability. (2%)
  • Be agnostic of any particular software, enabling us to consider a range of options to meet user needs. (2%)
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • Demonstrable evidence of working successfully with users in the school/education landscape or in similar public services contexts. (2%)
  • Demonstrable knowledge or experience of the education and education policy landscape. (2%)
  • Experience of developing design patterns that can be re-used for other services. (2%)
  • Demonstrable experience of managing and proactively engaging internal stakeholders across multiple digital projects and building relationships to support wider digital transformation. (2%)

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Evidence that the proposed approach and methodology for discovery and alpha will successfully ascertain user needs and meet specified objectives for the discovery and alpha. (10%)
  • Proposed plan of activities with clear deliverables and dates demonstrating the ability to complete the delivery of the discovery and alpha project within the required challenging timescales. (10%)
  • Proposed supplier team structure, with evidence to demonstrate a strong team and how their skills and experience will deliver the required outcome. (5%)
  • Evidence that the supplier has an appreciation of the education and educational tech policy landscape of this project and that the proposal is relevant to that context. (5%)
  • Identification of key options, assumptions, dependencies, risk and issues, with robust approaches to addressing them. (5%)
  • Evidence of how the proposal represents value for money for DfE. (5%)
  • Demonstration of appropriate approach to working with in-house teams with limited technical and Agile expertise. (5%)
  • Proposed workable and flexible approach to co-location of the team with DfE. (5%)
Cultural fit criteria
  • Demonstrate your approach to engaging with internal senior stakeholders undergoing cultural change and how this will support project success. (5%
  • Demonstrate how you will work transparently, collaboratively and share your approach with the DfE project team and seek actionable feedback. (5%)
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Assessment methods
  • Written proposal
  • Presentation
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. You have mentioned that some discovery has already taken place, were you happy with the outcome of that research?
The research was limited but we expect that it will be useful insight for the new discovery. Our scope for this project is different, meaning further research is necessary.
2. You mention you have already engaged with Transform and others, does that mean you are already speaking with them regarding getting contractors in to complete the Discovery and Alpha?
No. We made them aware that a specification would be published. No further contact has been made.
3. 1Can you give a rough idea of the days a week you'd expect to co-locate with your delivery partner? Ideally in discovery at the least. Thanks
We would expect our delivery partner to co-locate Monday-Friday. There may be some flexibility at the digression of the DfE product owner.
4. You mention the ‘new’ education landscape. Which particular aspects of policy change are you referencing?
The spec does not mention policy change or a ‘new’ education landscape, please can you clarify your question?
5. With respect to the Nice To Have Question on design patterns, are you referring to UX design patterns or technical design patterns?
We're primarily referring to UX design patterns. Although in alpha we'd expect our delivery partner to work closely with DfE technical architects to understand technical feasibility and ensure that any technical solutions were aligned with DfE technical strategy and design patterns. More information about government digital design patterns is available on GOV.UK:
6. You mention that some discovery has already occurred. Was this carried out by Transform, DXW, Equal Experts or another external agency?
The work was carried out by another external agency.