DfE to pay £10m for checks on school leader qualifications


The government is looking for a company to check the quality of new national professional qualifications for teachers, and up to £10 million is available for the winning bidder.

The Department for Education has advertised for a “single national provider or consortium” to provide “quality assurance to National Professional Qualifications throughout England” between March 2018 and March 2021.

The contract is valued between £6 million and £10 million.

Reformed national professional qualifications for middle and senior leaders, headteachers and executive heads launched in September, and are offered by 41 providers across England.

Proposals for the qualifications were first set out in Nicky Morgan’s ‘Educational excellence everywhere’ white paper, which was published last March.

Schools Week understands the government initially intended to have the quality assurance provided by the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

However, as the DfE is now planning to close the NCTL and bring its training and recruitment functions in house, an alternative external quality-assurer is needed, although the government said its decision to put out the tender at this stage was not directly influenced by the NCTL.

According to the tender document, the DfE wants the reformed qualifications to be “grounded in the best available evidence and recognised as the gold standard for teachers’ professional development”.

“We are therefore seeking to partner with an organisation with the authority and expertise to establish this gold standard. The selected organisation will be responsible for quality-assuring and improving NPQ provision throughout England through a range of activities,” it said.

“These include regularly gathering evidence on providers’ performance, carrying out in-depth inspections of providers and moderating participants’ assessment projects, in order to assess and improve providers’ performance.”

If the full value of the contract is paid out, it will mean that the DfE has spent the same amount of money on quality-assuring the qualifications as it has made available to support teachers and leaders in hard-to-reach areas to take them.

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