Published date: 17 May 2021

Closed early engagement

Closing date: 30 June 2021

Contract summary


  • Educational equipment - 39162000

  • Education and training services - 80000000

Location of contract

Any region

Procurement reference


Published date

17 May 2021

Closing date

30 June 2021

Contract is suitable for SMEs?


Contract is suitable for VCSEs?



The purpose of this PIN is to initiate market engagement. It is not being used as a call for competition. The PIN is intended as an information-gathering exercise. This PIN is intended to:  

- Explore whether there are organisations who can manufacture and supply and/or distribute 'rekenrek' style abacuses that can also demonstrate a low carbon footprint, ethical resourcing and value for money.
- We are interested in suppliers/ manufacturers who could commit to and have the capacity to deliver up to 360,000 abacuses to up to 6,000 schools in England from September 2021.
- The Department is particularly interested in limiting environmental impact and will be looking for responses which also demonstrate a low carbon footprint.

Specification for the rekenrek style abacus:

- Size of the frame: Approx: 25-30cm wide
- Material: Wood or robust plastic with metal rod for the beads. Frame colour unimportant.
- Must have two rows, each consisting of five red and five white beads (it's important that red beads come before white beads)
- Beads must be 0.8-1.5cm wide. Ideally beads should be of the flat type rather than fully round as young children find these easier to move. There must be 20 beads in total.
- Function: It should be easy to tip back and forth so that beads easily slide across when tipped.
- Safety: They must be suitable for a child of 4 years old and accredited with the EU safety standard CE and the BSI Kite Mark.


As part of our efforts to support numeracy development in schools, we are exploring the potential use of a specific abacus.

The expected timeline for this would be for delivery to commence in September 2021. To meet this limited delivery timeframe, we asking for responses from manufacturers/ suppliers that confirm that they have the capability and the capacity to deliver by 17:00 GMT on Friday 21 May. We will then seek further information from those companies who contact us.

Manufacturers and suppliers who can respond positively to the criteria should contact the following email address by 17:00 GMT on Friday 21 May-

This notice is a zero value PIN for early market engagement. It is for information only and is not a call for competition. The Department for Education reserves the right not to enter a formal procurement process and not proceed with contract award.

More information

Additional text

Manufacturers and suppliers who can respond positively to the criteria should contact the following email address by 17:00 GMT on Friday 21 May-

About the buyer


Sanctuary Buildings, 20, Great Smith Street