Digital Languages Mentoring Project (Beta) Department for Education Tender Closes 20th September

The Department for Education (DfE) is seeking a Provider to deliver the beta phase of the Digital Languages Mentoring Project, building on the 2018-19 alpha pilot, which will encourage pupils in Year 8/9 to choose Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) at GCSE level.

The project will be run in state maintained schools in England, with MFL undergraduate students from universities in England as mentors. The pupils will be of mixed abilities, mixed gender and mixed socio-economic backgrounds. We are particularly interested in the capacity for the project to affect the choices of disadvantaged pupils and pupils who might not otherwise choose a language. The project’s ambition is to inspire them to choose to study languages at GCSE level.

This is a digital project (as well as involving face to face visits) – using a digital platform to host interesting and stimulating digital resources to spark pupils’ attention related to global culture and the value of languages. (The digital platform is being developed under a separate contract).

The private beta phase will run in at least 40 schools in England, from late January 2020 to the end of February or early March. The project will be delivered by the time Year 9 pupils make their subject choices for GCSEs. Mentors will work with small groups of 10-12 pupils, with a total pool of at least 1,000 pupils. The contract includes the option to progress to the public beta phase of the pilot, to run in academic year 2020-21 with a pool of at least 6,000 pupils (subject to approval and funding).

The Provider will be required to;
– run a dedicated programme of engagement, continuing the approach from the alpha phase. Activities from the alpha pilot will be available to bidders on request.
– work with the Department to develop a robust evaluation model that provides clear evidence of the impact on participating pupils, including both qualitative and quantitative data.
– collaborate with the DfE product manager to prepare for the GDS service assessment at the end of the private beta pilot, focusing on the digital platform and compliance with GDS standards.
– commission user research to shape and evaluate the digital platform. The user research will need to be compatible with and support assessment of the platform against GDS standards.
– work with digital experts within the DfE and third parties who will review the digital platform in line with the GDS specifications. The DfE digital team will look at specific digital elements such as security and data protection, in order to support with GDS assessments and advise on future expansion of the digital element of the project.

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