SSIF applications - what makes a good bid

Recently the DfE published guidance around how to strengthen new applications and suggest there are clear common themes for how strong applicants are meeting the four main bid assessment criteria and also some guidance around what made particular applications weaker. Below provides the four main assessment criteria (evidence based programmes of work, deliverability, value for money and sustainability) and highlights some of the DfE’s guidance.

You can also refer to the core areas of focus for approved projects cross referenced with our assessments and examples of impact - please follow this link.

An evidence based programme of work

Strong bids included “Provided evidence, for example, school level data, and compared it specifically to data nationally and locally to demonstrate the extent of the need in the specific schools to be supported and explain why they are the ones most in need of support”

Weaker bids “Identify a problem and providing some evidence of it locally, but not explaining how they knew that the specific schools that they were proposing to support were the ones that most needed the support”

How can GL Assessment help?                                      

Many of GL Assessments surveys and assessments are standardised which mean they look to place an individual pupil in a wider context, comparing their results to peers on a national basis, while offering a range of scores that help teachers to understand and monitor performance over time. Standardised assessments provide objective, quantitative data in the form of Standard Age Scores (SAS), which are a simple numerical indication of a student’s (or group of students’) performance compared to those of the same age (in years and months) nationally.

GL Assessment provide group data analysis reports for clusters of school which can support the project team in being able to analyse strengths and weaknesses of particular curriculum and skill areas across all schools involved in the project or in key geographical areas. These reports can also help to support project leads to drill down to understand more about individual schools strengths and weaknesses to ensure support and intervention can be more targeted.


Strong bids included “Provided clarity on exactly which organisation will deliver which part of the proposed project supported by specific and relevant evidence of their track record in delivering impact from similar interventions”.

Weaker bids are  “Not setting out the track record of some providers” and “Providing vague information on providers”.

How can GL Assessment help?

GL Assessment is at the forefront when supporting successful SSIF bid applications as we provide independent measurements of performance that demonstrate impact and evidence of outcomes. We have partnered a range of education providers (LAs, MATs and TSAs) providing independent measures for over 40 Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) research projects. Our assessments establish the baseline data of pupils' attainment, stakeholders’ perceptions and existing barriers to learning. Subsequent project interventions use this baseline data to provide a rigorous measure of improved outcomes and impacts made.

We’re using GL Assessment’s standardised assessments as a trusted tool to create baseline, mid and end point data for our project. The reliable and robust results from these assessments are viewed by ourselves, and our external evaluators, as one of the best measures of the progress of our SSIF project towards its intended outcomes.
Katie North, Project Lead, Abbey Multi Academy Trust


Strong bids “Identified specific accountabilities for sustaining improvements beyond the funded period, Set out robust plans for sustaining impact beyond the funded project, including for embedding practices and ensuring clear accountabilities”.

Weaker bids are  “‘Bolting on sustainability’, instead of it being a visible thread throughout the programme of work”.

How can GL Assessment help?

GL Assessment are supporting group assessment purchases with significant cost savings as well as providing where possible free training and group reporting services in order to support bidders with numerical cost savings. Not only can we help bidders to evidence clear numerical cost savings, many of our assessments can be completed online by pupils, most are marked by GL Assessment and come in a range of easy to interpret data reports. Therefore additional value can be evidenced through the reduction in teacher workload and time saved in marking and collating data into meaningful reports as this is all completed by GL Assessment.

GL Assessment will provide full pricing, savings and support costing breakdowns for you to include within the bid proposal.


Value for money

Strong bids “Provided evidence of specific steps taken to keep costs to a minimum, with numerical costs savings achieved where appropriate” Weaker bids are “Providing unclear or incomplete financial information e.g. the costs of all the delivery strands not adding up to the overall cost of delivery stated”

How can GL Assessment help?

GL Assessment provide a dedicated Project Manager to support SSIF and group projects both during the project period and beyond to ensure individual schools are able to get to grips with new assessment practice but also to ensure that professionals are upskilled with various training and ongoing support. This account management support is designed to help ensure professionals can continue to effectively manage their data, pinpoint areas for intervention and monitor trends over time long after the project funding period has lapsed.

Our assessments are designed to be used at various points each year to ensure schools have robust external data to drive focus and track impact beyond the funded project. Many of the assessments provide progress reports for individuals and groups, which offers a common language of assessment that can be mapped as a visible and sustainable thread for monitoring impact throughout the project and beyond.


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