Department for Education abandons £24 million schools data project

The Department for Education (DfE) has quietly dropped a £24 million project to create a platform for schools performance data.

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The Department for Education (DfE) has quietly dropped a £24 million project to create a platform for schools performance data.

Stakeholders were sent an e-mail by DfE informing them of the decision to stop work on the data warehouse - formally titled the ‘School Performance Data Programme’ - last month, but it has not been publicly announced.

A DfE spokesperson told ComputerworldUK that the project, which is being delivered by IT firm RM Education, “has been stopped due to delays in its implementation.”

The project aimed to aggregate performance data on schools in England into a single platform to allow parents, teachers and other professionals to compare different schools performance.

The spokesperson added: “It had become apparent that the programme was going to experience some delays to delivery and with a significant IT transformation programme taking place within the Department, and other changes across Government, including a proposed Crown Hosting Service, it is clear that it is not the right time to progress with this work.”

The DfE declined to elaborate upon their decision to end the schools data project when asked by ComputerworldUK. 

The Cabinet Office is currently seeking a supplier to run the ‘Crown Hosting Service’, which it hopes will eventually cover the majority of central government’s datacentre hosting needs.

However ComputerworldUK understands that plans to set up the Crown Hosting Service (CHS) were only a small factor in DfE’s decision.  

The Cabinet Office is currently shortlisting suppliers for the CHS with a view to awarding the contract in January.

RM Education won the two contracts for the project in November 2013 after a procurement exercise which formally kicked off in July 2012.

The official contract notice stated that the programme was divided into two contracts worth a total of £24 million. The contracts are for five years with options to extend them both up to seven years.

The department said: “In the meantime, the DfE and RM have committed to working together to continue to deliver the school performance tables and associated services in partnership.”

"We remain committed to the vision of the School Performance Data Programme and will reconsider it as other reforms are completed."

RM Education did not provide a response when repeatedly contacted by ComputerworldUK.

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