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 approximately one month of work with a budget of £2,500 – £8,000 (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 new web platform called “Encounters”. This platform will provide 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. Encounters is intended to be a gamified platform in which pupils are assigned avatars (animals which represent them) and can log tasks or activities related to the project (such as litter-picking, or creating an ‘insect hotel’ or watching a nature documentary) which can earn them and their school points and badges.

Schools and individuals can compete and tasks are allocated different points. Evidence for completing the tasks can be uploaded by pupils and teachers. Each user type has a different view and dashboard (pupil, teacher, environmental educator).

The purpose of the platform is to provide an engaging platform which encourages pupils to carry out activities that can connect them to nature, giving rewards and feedback that will continue to engage them and their families outside school as well as inside.

The basic development of the platform has been carried out but this tender is to add in additional functionality which was desired but not possible to incorporate in the first phase of development.

It is hoped that the successful tender for this piece of development may also be interested in tendering for a subsequent contract which will be a larger overhaul of the platform to enhance its UX through increased use of graphics and animation and gamification of the user journey.

Both MammalWeb and Encounters are hosted on Amazon Web Services, built on the Joomla! Content Management System. Technologies used include AWS, S3, Linux, MySQL, Apache, PHP and Javascript. Any documentation uploaded to the ‘Resource Hub’ is stored in S3.

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 £2500 to £8000, 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:

  • 8th April 2022: Opening date for expression of interest
  • 19th April 12:00 BST: Deadline to submit initial expression of interest
  • 22nd April 12:00 BST: Final quotation and plan of work received
  • 25th April: Preferred work initiation date
  • 21st May: 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 08.02.22

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
    • Confirmation of availability during periods listed in table above (Section 5.1)


All questions and expressions of interest must be sent as a PDF to Chris Jeffs (BES) and Philip Stephens (Durham University / MammalWeb Ltd.) before 1200 BST, 19 April 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.