Published date: 21 August 2020

This notice was replaced on 21 August 2020

This notice does not contain the most up-to-date information about this procurement. The most recent notice is:

Early engagement (published 21 August 2020, last edited 19 January 2021)

Closed early engagement

Contract summary


  • Education and training services - 80000000

Location of contract

Any region

Procurement reference


Published date

21 August 2020

Closing date

2 November 2020

Contract is suitable for SMEs?


Contract is suitable for VCSEs?



The purpose of this Prior Information Notice (PIN) is to notify the market of a forthcoming market engagement event relating to the Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP).

The Department will be hosting an online event on 30 September 2020 for any interested parties.

Please register your interest here:

The purpose of the event is to share our thoughts and seek the input and expertise from the sector, to help develop our early thinking about the Mandarin Excellence Programme.

China is a country of huge strategic importance to the UK and education plays a key role in developing that wider relationship with important economic, educational and diplomatic benefits. The Government firmly believes that learning other languages is important in our globalised economy, as well as helping pupils to prepare for life in modern Britain.

In 2015 the Department announced its intention to provide funding for at least 5,000 pupils to be taught Mandarin in schools in England. The Department is now looking to build upon the success of this initial pioneering programme. We aim to re-procure this programme to continue from April 2021, subject to internal approval.

Our intention for the scope of the re-procured MEP would be to continue delivery of Mandarin fluency with a minimum recruitment and retention of 1,800 Year 7 pupils commencing and continuing study annually from September 2021 to September 2023. It will also maintain up to 20 PGCE Mandarin teachers.

The Department is seeking a lead provider or consortia or similar entity to deliver the programme, which will include, but is not limited to the following objectives:

- support the diverse geographical location of the schools (where necessary) to ensure the development of teaching and learning of Mandarin Chinese in schools across the country;

- ensure school-led development of the programme, translating centralised guidance and support into local practice;

- provide a framework for the sustainability of Mandarin Chinese in England beyond the life of the programme;

- ensure experienced MEP schools act as hub leaders to implement successfully the step-up of teaching required within the life of the programme, and to be able to lead confidently additional new schools in following years.

- build upon the successes of work delivered to date by the current contract holders.

Indicative Dates for Procurement:

Following the market engagement event, we intend to publish the Invitation to Tender in November 2020 subject to internal approval. Contract award will take place around February 2021 with contract commencement in April 2021. Further information on the procurement process will be provided during the market engagement activity.

More information


Additional text

On 30 September 2020, we will be holding an online webinar event for prospective bidders. This will not be a face to face session.

We would like to use this webinar to introduce and explain the programme and welcome your views and respond to any questions.

We are keen to speak to as many organisations as possible, and therefore we will be limiting attendance on the webinar to two representatives per organisation.

For information: Attendance at the market engagement events is not a pre-requisite for being able to submit a tender against this opportunity. If you are unable to attend the market engagement event, the slides and Q&A outcomes will be made available.

This notice is a zero value PIN notice for early market engagement. It is for information only and is not a call for competition. The Department reserves the right not to enter a formal procurement process and not proceed with contract award. Accordingly, the Department will not be liable for any bid cost, expenditure, work or effort incurred by any organisation in acting on the basis of this Prior Information Notice.

All information included in this notice is indicative and subject to change.

About the buyer

Contact name



Department for Education, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street