Education Contracts & Opportunities in 2021

Published1st December 2020 AuthorJohn Hudson

Why you should be tendering for education contracts 

Education contracts are one of the most populated types of tender on our sector-specific tendering portal, Consultancy Tenders. Are you tendering for work on education contracts as we head into 2021? If not – here’s why you should be!

We source a wide range of opportunities for education, training and tutoring providers, every day. So, here’s a rundown on current opportunities, and how you can tender for education contracts effectively.

What do education contracts usually look like?

A broad range of services fall under the umbrella term ‘education contract’. The buying organisations range from universities and colleges to local councils, to environmental agencies, and much more. The budget and number of providers on education contracts also vary greatly. From single supplier tutoring contracts worth thousands to large university frameworks for multiple providers, with budgets in the millions.

As an SME in the education sector, there are plenty of tenders you could be pursuing to grow your business. Education contracts currently available to SMEs may include services and programmes such as:

  • Apprenticeship training
  • Mentoring
  • Expert speaker services
  • Workshop delivery services
  • Early childhood education
  • Environmental education services
  • Social inclusion programmes
  • Business coaching
  • Community work
  • Local employment services
  • Functional skills delivery

And that’s just to name a handful! We source hundreds of unique opportunities, covering a vast range of education contracts. So, we appreciate the scope of the sector. Book a free live demo of Consultancy Tenders, and we’ll demonstrate how to find education contracts, relevant to your business.

Which areas of the education sector will see investments in 2021?

What is the forecast for education contracts in 2021? New opportunities will arise from increased investment and funding across the board – from schools, to traineeships, to adult learning. The Spending Review 2020, announced on 25th November, gives insight into the focal points for investment across the education sector.

The Spending Review 2020 & Education Contracts.

The government has prioritised investment in education and skills in 2020. Investments are being made to level up education standards and provide a higher quality experience for all UK learners. This applies to learners of all ages – from adult training courses, to early childhood education. New funding hopes to offset areas of education that were negatively impacted by COVID-19. The schools’ budget, for instance, is set to increase by £7.1 billion by 2022-23. This is the biggest school funding boost in a decade.

Core funding will be assigned to the following areas of the education sector in 2021-2022:

  • £1.4 billion to education funding, including funding for schools to help children catch up on lost learning.
  • £291 million for Further Education, to ensure core funding for 16 to 19-year-olds is sustained.
  • £300 million for school facilities for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
  • £2.5 billion for apprenticeships and further improvements for employers.
  • £375 million from the National Skills Fund, which funds:
  1. in-demand technical courses for adults, equivalent to A level
  2. the employer-led boot camp training model
  3. traineeships and the National Careers Service
  4. innovative models for local collaboration between skills providers and employers.

Brand new education contracts are cropping up!

There are currently education contracts cropping up in new areas as society adapts to the effects of COVID-19.  We’ve seen an unsurprising increase in tenders for Online Distance Learning Services, for instance.

Further investments are also being made into skills training that is tailored to local communities. This local approach will supplement national programmes. For instance, work-based training, such as sector-based work academy programmes (SWAP).

SWAP programmes are a recent development for education providers, as of late 2020. Organised by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), these programmes help unemployed people apply for new jobs. Applicants on the programme receive training and education to gain skills which make them suitable for new areas of work. For example, Fareham College has teamed up with Job Centre Plus (JCP) to establish a sector-based work academy. Applicants enrol on a four-week educational course to gain skills and knowledge required for a career in construction. Qualifications, such as a Level 1 Award in Bricklaying, are obtained through the college’s Civil Engineering Training Centre (CETC). This programme helps relieve local redundancies and lost jobs due to the effects of the pandemic.

SWAPs are also designed to help employers recruit a workforce with the right skills to sustain and grow their business.

Are you just starting to tender for education contracts?

If so, we’re happy to help you get started!

Tendering for education contracts requires preparation. You should consider how best to gain relevant experience and build up your case studies. The best place to start when tendering is to find contracts on Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS) or framework agreements. Both of these are multiple supplier set ups, open to smaller contractors. This allows SMEs to build their experience and, in turn, build up effective case studies for future bids. Once you’ve got a bank of relevant experience, you’ll be capable of progressing to single provider contracts.

The bid writing experts at our Hudson Succeed division have extensive experience writing tender responses – with an 87% success rate! They can thoroughly prepare you for tendering through their 4-week Tender Ready package.

Here are some points to consider when bidding for education contracts.

What’s the procedure?

The procurement procedure for education contracts can be either open or restricted.

  1. Open procedure:

An open procedure is often used for more straightforward procurements. This procedure means that:

  • Anyone can submit a tender;
  • You are not permitted to negotiate with bidders, and;
  • The buyer is required to evaluate all tenders received.
  1. Restricted procedure:

A restricted procedure is often used in less stable markets with lots of competition. This procedure means that:

  • Interested parties can submit an expression of interest;
  • A minimum of five suppliers must be invited to tender and these are sufficient to ensure genuine competition, and;
  • No negotiation with bidders is permitted, just clarification of bids and finalisation of terms.

Let’s take a brief look at an example of the tendering process for an education contract.

Example: A council puts out a Request for Tender (RFT) seeking qualified tutors to deliver various training programmes for young people. The programme focuses on 16 – 18-year olds at risk of being NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training). Through the programme, young people will be able to progress into further education, apprenticeships or skilled employment.

This is an open procedure tender. The RFT will establish a panel of individuals or companies. A mini competition will then take place to decide who will be selected for contract award.

How can you submit an effective bid, in this case?

How do you put forward a tender response showcasing why your business is the best fit to deliver this contract? Here are some points to consider:

  • Read the Invitation to Tender (ITT) carefully.

Make sure you’ve read and understood the ITT carefully. The following components will typically be included:

  • a cover letter
  • a timetable for the contract
  • how to ask clarification questions
  • how to submit your bid
  • the specification
  • the award criteria
  • the specific levels of service you want
  • the terms of appointment
  • Seek clarification.

Always seek clarification for any aspects of the tender you’re unsure on. This will greatly increase your chances of responding fully, and correctly. 

  • Consider the buyer’s core purpose.

In this case, the core purpose in the RFT may read as follows. “Our core purpose is to improve quality of life for individuals and communities by improving their opportunities for employment.”

Can you align your own core values with the buyer’s core purpose to show why you’re best for the job?

  • Relevant experience.

The award criteria in education contracts are often heavily weighted on the relevant past experience you/your company has. In this case, there is a 40 – 50% weighting in the criteria sole for past experience. This is a large portion of the award criteria, so you must have relevant experience of delivering similar training. It’s essential, also, to show what you’ve gleaned from similar past contracts you’ve undertaken and how you will utilise this.

  • Demonstrate your impact.

Clearly demonstrate the impact your work will have. What are you going to do? What difference will it make to the programme? For instance?

Output – I will survey learners on their current skills and training.

Outcome – I will use this as a basis to make a new curriculum.

Impact – The new curriculum will better prepare learners for the workplace.

  • Consider the wider community.

It may be worthwhile to consider longer-term impacts, and indirect impacts. For instance, how will improving employment opportunities for young people affect the wider community? Will students in the programme go on to train others?

  • Keep it relevant.

It’s important to sing your own praises and sell yourself within a tender. However, don’t use up the wordcount describing how great your organisation is, if it’s not relevant to the actual tender! Instead, keep the focus on how your organisation is the best fit for this particular piece of work.

Looking for further support with tenders?

Need support to boost your chances of winning education contracts? Our dedicated and experienced team of Bid Writers at Hudson Succeed can take the burden out of bid writing.

We provide four levels of writing support to maximise your bidding success. Whether you are tendering for the first time or have tendered before, we have a service tailored to your needs:

Get in touch to learn how you can succeed with us.

Consultancy Tenders

Consultancy Tenders streamlines the tendering process to save you valuable time when finding education contracts.

  • Locate public and private sector opportunities in one central portal.
  • Receive daily updates of available tenders, direct to your inbox.
  • Filter your search by relevant keywords, budget, location, and more.
  • Access your own Account Manager, who’ll answer any queries you have.
  • Your dashboard will automatically filter tenders to show you relevant opportunities.
  • We manually track opportunities from over 1,000 sources daily.
  • We host exclusive tenders that will not be posted on any other site.

Below are examples of education contracts sourced on our portal:

Adult Skills and Education Service: Adult Traineeships

City of London Corporation- London- Budget: £100,000

All Wales Public Service Graduate Programme 22-24 – Masters

Welsh Government- Wales- Budget: £180,000

Training Services for Local Enterprise Offices – LEAN Business Programme

Fingal County Council- Northern Ireland- Budget: £640,000

GP Course Update – Health Education England

Health Education England- Yorkshire & Humber- Budget: £65,000

Individual Packages of Educational Support Framework Re-opening

Essex County Council- Eastern- Budget: £15,000,000

Want to start finding education contracts with Consultancy Tenders? Book a free live demo today.

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