For those out there who are not avid fans of watching our website for new tenders, you don't know what you are missing, as it's been a busy few weeks!  

Two tenders that should be of interest to all providers are seeking bids for Joint Practice Development projects.  But here I will just cover our four tenders covering strategic discussions or consultations on key topics, which I hope will also spark some interest for you to get involved.  

This is a new experiment for us and so we are really not sure how it will pan out.  But we have four tenders covering a total of 10 topics, where we are looking for organisations to undertake reviews, studies, consultations or sector wide discussions, on a range of important areas or questions to help us formulate our future thinking and programmes.  In some areas I hope we will get specific answers, in others it might initially just provide a structured process to enable more people to start talking about issues and capture their thinking.  When looking at responses, we will also look for different approaches to undertaking such activities, to judge what works well if we decide to repeat such an approach again.  The tenders provide more detail to the individual questions, but a brief overview is below: 

Maths:  The maths enhancement project is aimed at enhancing the ability of maths tutors to deliver up to GCSE: is this sufficient?  What is the scale of the challenge, what more is needed and should the Foundation be doing more to help providers deliver against this vital but ambitious agenda?  

English:  There will be an English programme hot on the heels of the maths one. What is the scale of the challenge here and what should we collectively be doing? 

Science Technology Engineering Maths (STEM):  Are there aspects of the current STEM support programme which providers and practitioners feel are less effective and are there areas which should be enhanced, as well as new areas of activity? 

Premium Graduate Recruitment project:  There is an aim to generate a new scheme to attract new graduates into the Education and Training sector.  What models should be considered for this project? 

Initial teacher education provision (ITE):  the standard, as judged by Ofsted, of ITE for our sector trainees is generally lower than the quality of provision for primary and secondary teachers when delivered by HEIs.  How can we close this gap? 

Vocational Education and Training:  The Foundation is starting to develop a programme around the ‘Two way street’ concept.  What elements of activity should be included in this programme and how should we test and deliver them (pilots, case studies etc.)?   

Technology in Teaching and Learning:  There are many initiatives around how technology can be used as part of supporting and enhancing teaching and learning.  Is there a generic and effective workforce development focussed approach, which would  support any lecturer, teacher, trainer, assessor learning assistant etc, to increase their ability to utilise technology in their everyday work? 

Higher Level Apprenticeships: There is a clear message about the increasing importance of Higher Level Apprenticeships and the need to develop more capacity across the UK.  Again, the Foundation intends to issue a tender next year to provide support to the sector in delivering Higher Level Apprenticeships.  Is more work required, and if so what, to support providers in developing higher apprenticeship opportunities and routes to work and HE? 

Leadership pipeline: it is recognised, especially in Colleges, that there are issues around leadership succession, and a perceived lack of suitable candidates for senior posts.   What are the options for tackling this challenge? 

Governance: The AoC Governors Council has just completed a review of Governance which sets out for the next 15 months a road map for ensuring excellence in College Governance. One of the issues identified was a lack of a coordinated research programme. It is timely to now identify existing research and determine the research questions that, when answered, will influence board design, behaviour, accountabilities and relationships going forward. 

So if this has sparked your interest in bidding to lead one of these areas then you need to get your skates on as the closing date is 6th January.  Otherwise I hope you will feel passionate enough about some of these areas, so that you will want to have a say when the winning organisations undertake the work in the New Year. 

I hand over the reins to David Russell on the 27th January, so only one more article here from me.  Have a great Christmas and all the best for the New Year.  

Peter Davies is interim CEO of the Education and Training Foundation


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