The fundamental requirements of a high-quality education adviser are that they have both personal authority and professional credibility. We have identified certain key skills and attributes that we believe are essential to the role.
Within the application phase for accreditation as an Associate Adviser, candidates will be required to demonstrate that they have a wide and up-to-date knowledge of educational issues, the skills required to use their knowledge and experience to support improvement and a track record of professional success.
Personal Attributes and Skills
Education advisers need, first and foremost, to understand the people dynamics of an organisation and have high-order inter-personal skills that enable them to relate to, and engage with, individuals and groups at every level. Advanced speaking, listening and writing skills and the confident use of ICT are essential in communicating effectively with a wide range of stakeholders and audiences. These skills underpin an adviser’s ability to create a professional rapport in addressing complex and potentially sensitive issues.
An extensive knowledge of current and emerging educational legislation, policy and strategy is a prerequisite. We, and any client, will justifiably expect an accredited adviser to be fully conversant with the framework of educational accountability, including Ofsted, and to know where best practice is to be found, both locally and nationally. A good adviser keeps abreast of research-based evidence about effective educational practice and demonstrates a real commitment to their professional development. The most important function of an associate adviser, however, is to transfer that knowledge base effectively and draw on exemplars of best practice for the benefit of the client.
Ability to Challenge
The ability to challenge performance and work to agreed protocols is the third major strand of the core skills we look for in our associated advisers: working to clear and agreed protocols regarding confidentiality; addressing performance concerns resolutely, fairly and promptly; challenging performance in an objective but empathetic manner; giving clear and honest feedback to the full range of stakeholders. Underpinning these skills are the essential personal attributes of resilience, commitment, fortitude and self-reliance, coupled with high professional standards of personal organisation, time management and meeting deadlines.
Acting as an Enabler
The fourth strand of the organisation's core skills is what might best be described as the essential element that differentiates the role of a good adviser from that of a good inspector: acting as an enabler. This strand involves the provision of high-quality professional support throughout the journey of educational improvement in a school or other setting and involves several high-order enabling skills, such as mentoring, coaching, training, giving constructive criticism, providing ongoing advice to all stakeholders (including performance management), motivating and persuading.
In conclusion, we believe a credible associate adviser will be able, not only to demonstrate the core skills and the knowledge described above, but also to prove they have a convincing track record of successful impact in a similar setting.