AET Project brief - Capacity building - NOW CLOSED  

The Autism Education Trust believes that all children and young people with autism* should receive an education which enables them to reach their individual potential to engage in society as active citizens (and that individuals, families and professionals are informed, supported and equipped to enable this to be achieved).
*The term autism refers to all those on the autistic spectrum including Asperger syndrome

The purpose of the AET is to further raise awareness of the importance of autism education across the children’s workforce, to bring organisations involved in delivering autism education services together in order to promote effective practice and share information and to involve children and young people with autism and their families and carers in the planning and delivery of information and resources to enhance and improve autism education across the country.

To steer and advise on a process that will lead to a nationally recognised and valued qualification in autism education to raise standards and generate income for the AET.

The Autism Education Trust (AET) is funded by the Department of Education (DfE) and was founded in 2007 by Ambitious about Autism (formally TreeHouse), The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) and The National Autistic Society (NAS).

The AET is a partnership of organisations with a specific focus on autism and it works to improve education for children and young people with autism. It is hosted on behalf of the partnership by the NAS.
The AET has been successful in bidding for a capacity building grant from the DfE. The bid was informed by an independent review which identified a number of areas which could be developed to ensure the sustainability of the AET and its programme when the grant funded Theme 3 programme is completed in March 2013. As a result of this successful bid we are letting two contracts to carry out this work:

1. Building the capacity of the AET for post March 2013
2. To secure accreditation for the AET training programme

This brief relates to the second of these two.

What is included in the brief?
The brief is to research and source an awarding body that will accredit the training received at Levels 2 and 3  to be rolled out in the AET’s current DfE funded training programme. This will involve determining:
• the numbers in the workforce who would be potentially covered by the qualifications
• how much this will cost per student
• who is the best awarding body in terms of credibility and cost effectiveness
• which awarding body has the best commercial potential for the AET
• setting out the process
• the timescales
• the robustness of the process through trialling with learners at Levels 2 and 3 of the AET training programme   
It is expected that the contractor will work very closely and in an ongoing way with the team that is developing the training materials as this team will have a key input in how the materials will be used and thus accredited.  

What are the key deliverables / milestones of the AET programme?
The AET training at Levels 2 and 3 for practitioners will be formally accredited to give status to the training and provide a route through to further qualifications. This work will be closely linked to and will follow out of the development of the AET Competency framework and the AET Training materials which is to be developed as a part of the current AET Theme 3 programme. The latter work is also being let to contract currently and we would welcome bidders who would bid for both pieces of work, as they are very closely linked.

What key skills / capabilities are important to us?
The following skills and experience are essential:
• A track record in and knowledge of national qualifications, workforce development, SEN and the wider policy framework
• An understanding of national qualification schemes, workforce development and the SEN education sector
• Existing links with a range of providers of NVQ level or equivalent qualifications including close links Higher Education institutions.
• A clear understanding of requirements for accreditation of qualification schemes
• An   understanding of working in a multiple stakeholder environment with organisations similar to the AET.
• A track record of establishing effective  communication in a fluid organisational context
• A track record of  meeting time and cost constraints

The timetable for development
A suggested broad timetable is set out below although it is expected that this would be reviewed with the successful contractor during the selection process.

In order for a course to be accredited by any institution or organisation – the course materials and methods of assessment have to be specified – together with the CVs/criteria for those tutors responsible for assessing the work of the learners.

Qualifications brief timetable image

The overall maximum budget for this piece of work is £12,650 including VAT and expenses. Contractors would be allowed some flexibility and a broad delivery programme would be discussed and agreed on appointment.

Organisations who are interested in competing for this work should complete the brief tender proforma which is supplied with this document which details how they would address this remit and what particular skills and expertise they bring. If the organisation wishes to bid for the Competency Framework tender they should complete both proformas. This document will be assessed by a panel delegated by the AET Programme Board who will select the successful bidder.

For an overview of the AET, please download the AET Presentation.

Please also see the rest of the AET website at

Relevant Documents
1. AET Presentation
2. AET Project Brief: Training Materials Development
3. AET Project Brief: Capacity Building post March 2013
4. AET Project Brief: Competency Framework
5. AET Project Brief: National Standards
6. AET Project brief: Project Evaluation