DfE settles with Ambition over £121m Institute of Teaching contract dispute

Size of fee paid out to settle case likely to be kept secret, but Ambition was demanding £750k

Size of fee paid out to settle case likely to be kept secret, but Ambition was demanding £750k

23 May 2022, 12:03

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The Department for Education has settled a contract dispute it had with the Ambition Institute over the award of the flagship £121 million Institute of Teaching contract.

Schools Week revealed Ambition – a largely government-funded teacher training charity – had launched legal action after losing out on the contract. A consortium of four leading trusts won.

The charity wanted the contract to be revoked and handed to them, or to be paid £750,000 in damages for “wasted costs”.

The DfE has now settled the case. It is not known the sum agreed, and it is likely the case will be covered by a non-disclosure agreement.

It is also understood an injunction will be lifted, allowing the government to finally announce that the School-Led Development Trust has been awarded the contract.

A joint response issued by both the DfE and Ambition said they had reached an “amicable settlement”.

“Ambition Institute will continue to play a crucial role in making high quality professional development available to teachers and school leaders in England,” the spokesperson said.

“Ambition strongly supports the Government’s policy to invest in teacher development and offer 500,000 professional development opportunities across this Parliament.

“The Department intends to announce the award of the Institute of Teaching contract shortly.”

Ambition had said the DfE’s snub was “manifestly erroneous”, a claim denied by the government.

Court documents show the Ambition bid was rejected because of its “unacceptably high level of financial risk”.

The IoT will be the country’s “flagship teacher and leader development provider”. It is supposed to have 500 trainees from September 2023, and 1,000 the following year.

But from this September it will also support 2,000 early career teachers and their mentors, 1,000 national professional qualifications and train more than 400 national leaders of education.

It is already running months behind schedule, but the government believes it is on track to open this September as planned.

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