Expression of Interest for Digital Development of educational platform

We are seeking a digital developer to deliver updates and new functionality for an existing web-based platform used for education and engagement. The contract will involve work taking place between November 2022 and March 2023 (flexibility in dates possible) with a budget of between £15,000 – £20,000 (inc. VAT) dependent on deliverables proposed. More details of the technologies involved are provided within this document.

Schools Outreach Day pupils at Ushaw College, Durham

The Context and Project

The British Ecological Society, working with MammalWeb, the University of Greenwich, Middlesex University and SMASHfestUK are working on a project in North-East England connecting young people and families with nature. This ‘Connecting schools with nature in North-East England’ project involves digital and in-person workshops, plus training teachers and volunteers in how they can engage their pupils with the natural environment. As part of this, participants are being invited to sign-up and use a web platform called “Encounters”. This platform provides gamified learning and a system for pupils, teachers and volunteers to log the activities they are carrying out to help connect them to nature. The platform also hosts a ‘resource hub’ and community areas for teachers and ecologists to share learnings and materials.

The Platform

The Encounters web platform is a microsite which exists on the Mammalweb website. There are currently four user types on the platform: pupils, teachers, volunteers, and administrators.

Encounters is intended to be a gamified platform in which pupils, teachers, and volunteers are assigned avatars (animals which represent them) and can then find a range of tasks and activities related to the project (such as litter-picking, or creating an ‘insect hotel’, or watching a nature documentary). Users can log these activities on the platform to unlock ‘badges’ and earn them and their school points. The activities users can participate in are currently split into in four categories, focussing on different organisms:  1) Mammals 2) Insects 3) Birds 4) Nature (general category). Each categories have tasks/activities, badges, artworks, and facts to unlock.

Each user type has a different view and dashboard with differing tasks and activities available to them. The tasks and activities that appear for each user are set in the underlying database. In addition to logging tasks / activities, teachers can also view their students’ progress and an admin user can view all participants’ progress and generate project reports on items such as how many resources have been uploaded.

We are happy to meet with anyone wishing to tender for this work to give a more thorough overview of the existing site and the servers it is built on.

The basic development of the platform has been carried out but this tender is to add in additional functionality to enable the platform to be rolled out more widely towards the end of our project. The overall project is managed by the BES. The successful developer will be working in consultation with staff at the BES, as well as project partners (Mammalweb Ltd., SMASH-UK) and a development consultant who has constructed the platform so far.


It is anticipated that quotes for work described will be in the region of £15,000 to £20,000, exclusive of any VAT payable. Candidates should please indicate if their work is VAT inclusive/exclusive. Payment will be made on satisfactory completion of the website development.


The following delivery schedule should inform your expression of interest:

  • 14th October 2022: Opening date for expression of interest
  • 28th October 2022 12:00 BST: Deadline to submit initial expression of interest
  • 02nd November 2022 12:00 BST: Final quotation and plan of work received
  • 07th November 2022: Preferred work initiation date
  • 28th February 2023: Agreed work must be completed

Guidelines for submission of expression of interest:

A full guide to the project, proposed works, and outline for completing an expression of interest can be seen within this document: BES Web-platform developer Expression of Interest 14.02.22

With direct reference to this document, please submit the following to complete your expression of interest:

  • CV (2 page max)
  • A 1 page document including:
    • With reference to the technologies identified in Section 3.0, please confirm your ability to address all aspects defined by the headings within the requirements Section 2.0. Please clearly outline your capacity to, and experience of, delivering such works and include descriptions / examples of relevant past work. In lieu of being able to show examples of work due to copyright issues, please submit descriptions.
    • A quotation of day rates and a breakdown of how many days of work you would budget for each bullet point outlined in section 2.0
    • Confirmation of availability during periods listed in section 5.1

All questions and expressions of interest must be sent as a PDF to Sammy Mason (BES) and Philip Stephens (Durham University / MammalWeb Ltd.) before 1200 BST, 28 October 2022.

Suppliers may be asked questions about their response to allow the selection process to be made. Please note this may involve a digital meeting. Upon shortlisting, there will be the opportunity to speak to the team, view the platform in more detail and be briefed on the technologies involved.

Please note that the BES will review submissions on a rolling basis and reserve the right to select a suitable candidate prior to the closing date.