Ambition Institute is bidding to run the government's controversial new Institute of Teaching, Tes understands.
Sources say the organisation, whose success would mark its first venture into initial teacher training (ITT), is one of three hopefuls in contention for the Department for Education contract, which will be awarded early next year.
The Institute of Teaching, which will receive up to £121 million of government funding over six years, has been billed by the DfE as "the first of its kind in the world", with plans to operate out of at least four regional campuses from September 2022.
At full capacity, the department says it will train 1,000 new teachers a year using a "knowledge-based" approach.
It will also offer training to around 2,000 early career teachers and 2,000 mentors each year, together with 1,000 participants in the new national professional qualifications (NPQs).
Teacher training: Bids for contract to run new Institute of Teaching
But some have questioned its purpose, with a former schools commissioner branding the institute as an unnecessary "symbol".
Tes understands that three potential suppliers have been shortlisted for the negotiation stage after submitting initial bids for the contract: Ambition Institute, a coalition of multi-academy trusts (MATs) and another unknown party.
A large number of MATs and school-centred initial teacher training (SCITT) providers are also understood to be involved in Ambition's bid.
A procurement timeline seen by Tes shows that negotiations started on 16 August and will close on 8 October. Suppliers then will have from 22 October until the deadline of 19 November to submit their "best and final offers".
An internal evaluation process will follow, with the contract awarded in early March.
Led by former DfE civil servant Hilary Spencer, Ambition Institute specialises in professional development for teachers and leaders, with a focus on supporting pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.
It officially launched two years ago following the merger of Ambition School Leadership and the Institute for Teaching.
However, it is not currently involved in ITT.
The DfE contract notice for the institute states that the organisation will begin recruitment in "early 2022", and "operate most of its core functions" by the time it opens in September next year.
While the first ECF and NPQ cohorts will get underway in the 2022 autumn term, the ITT offer will start with a "pilot", to be expanded in 2023.
Ambition Institute and the Department for Education have been approached for comment.