Department of Education

Updating the Autism Education Trust Standards and Competency Framework for Schools

Invitation to Tender


Statement of Requirement


 This document can also be downloaded as a PDF here: Invitation to Tender Standards and Competencies.

Purpose of the Document

The purpose of this document is to invite proposals for updating the Autism Education Trust standards and competency framework for schools.  This document contains the following sections:

  1. Introduction to the Autism Education Trust
  2. Background to the Project
  3. Statement of Requirement
  4. Tender Proposal & Evaluation Criteria
  5. Procurement Procedures

The Autism Education Trust (AET)

The AET has a vision that all autistic children and young people will have equal opportunity to experience a positive education that empowers them to achieve their ambitions.  To achieve this the AET have set out a mission that aims to provide professional development resources and opportunities that support services and staff in securing positive experiences and outcomes for children and young people with autism.

At the heart of the AET is the belief that good outcomes can only be achieved by working in partnership.  AET has strategic partners across England who are central to ensuring that training for early years, schools and post-16 settings is accessible and high quality across their regions.  The AET also has partnerships with training hubs with whom the AET have trained over 240,000 practitioners and leaders in good autism practice.

Background to the Project

The existing Standards and Competencies have been implemented by many schools across a number of Local Authorities to enhance their autism provision and educational practice.

The AET schools autism competency framework provides a clear structure against which staff can reflect upon and evaluate their practice.  It is designed to be used as an on-going tool to focus staff on which aspects of their autism practice require further development. Its format enables practitioners to rate their knowledge, skills and personal qualities against a set of descriptors outlining best practice.

A separate document, the AET schools autism standards, sets out key factors common to good practice for whole settings in the education of pupils on the autism spectrum. The standards enable the whole school or other educational settings to determine the extent to which the needs of pupils with autism are being addressed through analysing policies, systems and whole school/setting development work.

The AET schools autism standards and competencies were last updated in 2016 to reflect key legislation and aspirations in the new SEND code of practice 0-25 (2014) the Professional Standards for Teachers and Trainers in Education and Training – England (2014) and the Common Inspection Framework (September 2015).

Alongside the above resources, the Autism Education Trust has recently updated and published the Good Autism Practice Report (Guldberg et al 2019). The report outlines eight key principles that provide a framework for the development of good quality education for all autistic Children and Young People (CYP) and their families.  Every ten years the AET updates the Good Autism Practice Guidance in line with updated research, new policies and key messages from autistic people.

The GAP report aims to inform the continued updating and development of all of the AET programme materials including the AET schools standards and competency framework.

Statement of Requirement

Project Scope and Objectives

The AET materials are underpinned by research evidence and need to reflect updates in research, new policies and key messages from autistic people.  The aim of the project is to refresh the existing standards and competency framework for schools in line with these factors addressed in the GAP 2019 report.

The refresh of the standards and competency framework must involve a feedback process to involve key stakeholders who are using the existing materials on a regular basis.  The key objective is for the standards and competency framework to be easily implemented to enhance autism provision in schools and above all support the improved outcomes for autistic CYP.

Outputs and Deliverables

Consistent with the AET contract with DfE, this is a ‘payment by results’ contract.  The supplier will be required to demonstrate compliance with the objectives described in the work plan below.

The table below provides a detailed timeline that shows deadlines for the submission of a first draft, a revised draft and a final draft of the standards and competency framework.

Detailed Requirements

The AET has already engaged with stakeholders via a questionnaire to gather comments on the existing standards and competency framework used in schools.  This feedback will be shared with the supplier during the project inception meeting and will contribute to the first draft of the revised materials.  The same stakeholders will be asked to comment, through a questionnaire, on the first draft.  Again the AET will organise this and the feedback will be shared with the supplier and used to develop the revised standards and competency framework (2nd draft).  Finally the revised version of the standards and competency framework will be shared with a larger group of stakeholders and tested in a school setting.  Feedback will be gathered on how user friendly and adaptable the new materials are and again the AET will lead on this.

Therefore, the main responsibility of the supplier will be to use the consultation feedback, the new AET Good Practice Guide and any other relevant sources of information to do the desk-based task of re-writing the standards and competency frameworks.  The framework documents will be formatted using a word document AET template.

Timescales and Milestones


Project Stage


Invitation to Tender


Deadline for questions and time to respond


Deadline for submission of proposals 31.01.20


Notify shortlisted suppliers


Interviews w/c 10.02.20


Award Contract


Project Inception Meeting and share results from first questionnaire with supplier


w/c 17.02.20
First draft completed and disseminated




Deadline for feedback from stakeholders


Revised version of standards and competencies completed


Testing revised testing of competencies and standards and design stage


Deadline for feedback on testing 15.05.20
Final Version of standards and competencies submitted




Contract Value

The maximum allowable budget for this project is £10,000 (not including expenses or VAT).

Other Information

Terms & Conditions

Any contract arising from this procurement will be based upon AET’s standard Terms & Conditions. Bidders should state in their proposal that they are willing to accept these Terms & Conditions. AET does not expect to negotiate individual terms with bidders and expects to contract on the basis of those terms alone. If bidders do not agree to the Conditions of Contract then their tender may be deselected on that basis and not considered any further.

If there are any areas where bidders feel they are not able to comply with the standard AET terms and conditions, then details should be included within their proposals in the following format:

Clause Number Existing  Wording Proposed Wording Rationale for amendment

Ethics and Principles

Any work undertaken must reflect the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.   Any individual aged 16 or above in direct contact with children and young people must be vetted on child protection grounds. DBS checks will be undertaken by the contractor if needed.

The AET operates with the support of all our partners.  It is expected that the supplier will work in a positive and supportive way that reinforces the strength of the partnerships involved.

Intellectual Property Rights

Copyright in all reports and other documents and materials arising solely and directly out of the performance by the Contractor of their duties under the Contract will be assigned to and shall vest in the Crown absolutely.  This condition shall apply during the continuance of the Contract and after its termination howsoever arising.

AET reserves the right to publish the documents, either in full or in part.  As such, all documents should be drafted in such a manner that allows publication without the need for input from the chosen supplier.

All copies of AET training materials are loaned to the supplier for the purposes of delivering the contract and must be returned at the end of the contract. None of the AET materials are to be extracted or used for any other purpose unless with the express written permission of the AET.


Contractors may use sub-contractors subject to the following:

  • that the Contractor assumes unconditional responsibility for the overall work and its quality; and,
  • that individual sub-contractors are clearly identified, with fee rates and grades made explicit to the same level of detail as for the members of the lead consulting team.

Internal relationships between the Contractor and its sub-contractors shall be the entire responsibility of the Contractor.  Failure to meet deadlines or to deliver work packages by a subcontractor will be attributed by AET entirely to the Contractor.

Tender Response and Evaluation Criteria

Tender Response

The proposals for this project should include an outline of how bidders will meet the requirement outlined in the Statement of Requirement section. The following information should be included:

  1. a) Understanding of customer’s requirements
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the requirement and overall aims of the project.


  1. b) Approach to customer’s requirements
  • Provide an explanation of the proposed approach and any methodologies bidders will work to;
  • Details of your assumptions and/or constraints/dependencies made in relation to the project
  • A project plan to show how outputs and deliverables will be produced within the required timescales, detailing the resources that will be allocated;
  • An understanding of the risks, and explain how they would be mitigated to ensure delivery
  • What support bidders will require from AET;


  1. c) Proposed delivery team
  • Key personnel including details of how their key skills, experience and qualifications align to the delivery of the project; and
  • Project roles and responsibilities
  • Some relevant examples of previous work that bidders have carried out (eg. case studies) AND/ OR Details of at least two relevant reference projects along with contact details of clients


  1. d) Pricing
  • A fixed fee for the project inclusive of all expense. This should include a breakdown of the personnel who will be involved with the project, along with associated charge rates and anticipated time inputs that can be reconciled to the fixed fee.


Evaluation Criteria

Tenders will be assessed for compliance with procurement and contractual requirements which will include:

  • Completeness of the tender information
  • Completed Declaration Form of Tender and Disclaimer
  • Tender submitted in accordance with the conditions and instructions for tendering
  • Tender submitted by the closing date and time
  • Compliance with contractual arrangements.

Tenders that are not compliant may be disqualified from the process.  We reserve the right to clarify any issues regarding a Bidder’s compliance. It will be at AET’s sole discretion whether to include the relevant Bidder’s response in the next stage of the process.

Tenders will be evaluated according to weighted criteria as follows:

Methodology (35%)

The proposal should set out the methodology by which the project requirement will be initiated, delivered and concluded.  In particular, it must:

  1. a) Explain the methodology and delivery mechanisms to ensure that the requirements of this specification are met in terms of quality;
  2. b) Explain how your organisation will work in partnership with AET’s project manager to ensure that the requirement is met
  3. c) Explain how your organisation will engage with external stakeholders;
  4. d) Explanation of how risks will be managed and mitigated

Delivery (10%)

The proposal should set out how and when the project requirement will be delivered.  In particular, it must:

  1. a) Explain how this work will be delivered to timescale and how milestones will be met, detailing the resources that will be allocated to each stage;
  2. b) Demonstrate an understanding of the risks, and project dependencies and explain how they would be mitigated to ensure project delivery;
  3. c) Explain the resources that will be allocated to delivering the required outcomes/output, and what other resources can be called upon if required.

Experience (35%)

The proposal should set out any experience relevant to the project requirement.  In particular, it must:

  1. a) Provide CVs of the consultants who will be delivering the project;
  2. b) Highlight relevant experience of the proposed team for this project, submitting examples of similar projects.


Cost / Value for money (20%)

A fixed fee for delivery of the project requirement (inclusive of all expenses), including a full price breakdown for each stage of the project and details of the day rates that will apply for the lifetime of this project.

Marking Scheme



Unanswered or totally inadequate response to the requirement. Complete failure to grasp/reflect the core issues.  Fixed fee outside the maximum budget as set out above.
1 Minimal or poor response to meeting the requirement. Limited understanding, misses some aspects. Fixed fee within the maximum budget as set out above.
3 Good understanding and interpretation of requirements, providing clear evidence of how the criterion has been met.  Fixed fee within the maximum budget as set out above.
5 Excellent response fully addressing the requirement and providing significant additional evidence of how the criterion has been met and how value would be added.  Fixed fee within the maximum budget as set out above.


Procurement Processes

Tendering Timetable

The timescales for the procurement process are as follows:


Element Timescale
Invitation to tender issued 10.01.20
Deadline for the submission of clarification questions 20.01.20
Deadline for submission of proposals 31.01.20
Shortlisted suppliers notified 03.01.20
Interviews* Skype – w/c 10.02.20
Award contract 14.02.20
Project Inception Meeting w/c 17.02.20

*Please ensure that the Project Manager and other key consultants who will be delivering this work are available on the interview date


Tendering Instructions and Guidance

Amendments to ITT document

Any advice of a modification to the Invitation to Tender will be issued as soon as possible before the Tender submission date and shall be issued as an addendum to, and shall be deemed to constitute part of, the Invitation to Tender. If necessary, AET shall revise the Tender Date in order to comply with this requirement.


Clarifications & Queries

Any query in connection with the tender should be submitted via the AET email address info@autismeducationtrust.org.uk. The response, as well as the nature of the query, will be notified to all suppliers without disclosing the name of the Supplier who initiated the query.


Submission Process

Tenders must be submitted via email to info@autismeducationtrust.org.uk no later than the submission date and time shown above. Tenders submitted after the closing date and time may not be accepted.


An evaluation team will evaluate all tenders correctly submitted against the stated evaluation criteria.


Cost & Pricing Information

Tender costs remain the responsibility of those tendering. This includes any costs or expenses incurred by the supplier in connection with the preparation or delivery or in the evaluation of the tender. All details of the tender, including prices and rates, are to remain valid for acceptance for a period of 90 days from the tender closing date.


Once the contract has been awarded, any additional costs incurred which are not reflected in the tender submission will not be accepted for payment.



References provided as part of the tender will be approached during the tender stage


Contractual Information

Following the evaluation of submitted tenders, in accordance with the evaluation criteria stated in this document, a contractor may be selected to perform the services and subsequently issued with an order.


Any contract awarded, as a result of this procurement will be placed with a prime contractor who will take full contractual responsibility for the performance of all obligations under the contract. Any sub-contractors you intend to use to fulfil any aspect of the services must be identified in the tender along with details of their relationship, responsibilities and proposed management arrangements.


Any services arising from this ITT will be carried out pursuant to the contract which comprises of:

  • AET Terms & Conditions;
  • Service Schedules;


  • this Invite to Tender & Statement of Requirement document; and
  • the chosen suppliers successful tender.


December 2019

Autism Education Trust



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