Universal Support

Universal support for an organisation which accredits and develops education advisers

The concept was tested with national stakeholder leaders, local authorities, multi-academy trusts and individual academies and schools, all of whom enthusiastically supported the need for such an organisation. Throughout the whole of the accreditation development programme we continually checked with government ministers and national education leaders and key stakeholder organisations to ensure that the investment in the development of the programme has been worthwhile.

Key national stakeholder groups, such as the Association of School and College Leaders, the National Association of Headteachers, Freedom and Autonomy for Schools National Association and the National Governors' Association have enthusiastically supported the need for such an organsation.

The judgement regarding the need for education advisers is based on the views of:

  1. National education leaders
  2. Professional representative organisations
  3. Commissioners of advisers
  4. Advisers.


Views of National Education Leaders

“High-quality education adviser support for the school system is an integral feature of a school-led improvement system. For that reason, the organisation has much to offer and I welcome its capacity to support me and my Regional Schools Commissioners team.”

Sir David Carter, National Schools Commissioner 

Good education advice goes hand in hand with good governance, good financial management and good outcomes for pupils.  For individual schools and academy trusts, quality and consistency of advice is, therefore, very important”

Peter Lauener, Chief Executive, Education and Skills Funding Agency

“I do fully understand the rationale behind its establishment. For it to be successful, the organisation must ensure that its accreditation arrangements are rigorous and robust, identifying the strengths of individual advisers and areas for development. This will help build the reputation of the organisation and further enhance the status of advisers”

Lord Agnew, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System

Views of Professional Representative Organisations

“It is critical in this next period of education change that advisers working with schools, whether appointed by the DfE, multi-academy trusts, single schools or local authorities, are working to a quality standard which is recognised by all parties.”

Tom Clark CBE FRSA, Freedom and Autonomy for Schools National Association (FASNA)

“ASCL fully supports the activities of the organisation. The association believes that it is important to have an accreditation system for education advisers, as this will give schools and colleges confidence about the quality of support and advice available to them. This accreditation is a real step forward in ensuring that consultants advising schools and colleges are well trained and of the highest quality”

Malcolm Trobe CBE, Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL)

NAHT fully supports the activities of the organisation: there is currently no accreditation process for school improvement professionals and the organisation will provide such a process. The accreditation of education advisers is essential to ensure a consistent and high-quality standard of advice for schools. NAHT is delighted to be associated with this development.”

Paul Whiteman, National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT)

Views of Commissioners of Advisers

The key organisations that support the need for the accreditation and development of advisers include multi-academy trusts, teaching school alliances, local authorities and independent service providers. Included below are examples of their feedback regarding the development of the AoEA.  MATs and the organisations that represent them, such as FASNA, support the need for the accreditation of advisers. Local Authorities including Hampshire, Birmingham, North Yorkshire, Stockport, Oldham, Bolton and Hartlepool are very supportive of the AoEA. 

 “Within the school-led system this organisation will be an integral asset in validating the developing skills and learning of a new cadre of professionals. There is a growing resource of experienced and talented personnel ready to take on the important role of supporting school improvement. They will undoubtedly benefit from such an addition to the current and future educational landscape.”

Graham Soles, Chief Executive (Performance), Consilium Academies

“Right now it is critical that we have a clear understanding of the differing roles of governors, inspectors and education advisers. The role of education advisers has been historically underdeveloped and rarely quality assured. With the advent of more school-led improvement and many hybrid models of governance, access to first class education advisers is critical. The market for education advisers is variable and many professionals are self-styled “system leaders” with little experience to back up their claims. So I welcome the organisation with its rigorous development and transparent quality assurance. I look forward to working with Les Walton and his colleagues to get the AoEA established in the West Midlands.”

Colin Diamond CBE, Corporate Director, Children and Young People, Birmingham City Council

"For an effective school led system there has to be rigorous quality assurance to demonstrate that those involved in school improvement work have the necessary skills and experience to make a real impact. The organisation will provide a quality mark through accrediting advisors so that schools know that they will be engaging highly effective support".

Alan Hardie, Principal of Whitburn Church of England Academy and Acting CEO of Northumberland Church of England Academy Trust

“The advice, experience and training based on a generation of outstanding educational practice and research make the organisation a unique and highly effective organisation. Having benefitted from its regime, the Directors at Yearwood Education are in the throes of getting all their partners through the Associate Programme to ensure both high quality and consistent delivery in our schools' advisory work.  We are convinced that the creation of an accredited advisory service is overdue.”

Tony Markowski, Independent Education Provider, Yearwood Education

“As the CEO of a teaching school and a developing multi-academy trust and an education adviser for the Area Review of Colleges I took part in the pilot advisor training of the organisation, as did my Director of Teaching School. A national organisation that trains and quality assures education advisers across all sectors is critical in helping develop the skills and knowledge of people working in this field. Most importantly, it creates networks that enable those in small or medium sized MATs, teaching schools or other organisations to obtain knowledge and skills that they do not have in-house. 

Many advisers come to the role after successful careers in ‘doing the job’ but have not received training in giving advice to peers or others in very different circumstances. A single national training scheme can thus increase the effectiveness and efficiency of high quality individuals entering the field of advice.”

Felicity Greeves, CX of Blackpool and Fylde Teaching School Alliance

"The organisation provides an excellent opportunity for colleagues engaged in securing improvements in the school system, whether they be education advisors seeking endorsement of their professional capabilities through the rigorous Institute membership process or school and MAT leaders seeking to ensure that they commission effective school and governance improvement consultancy from high quality advisors "

Sean Cavan, Director and Trustee, Delta Academies Trust and Chair of the Universities' Council for the Education of Teachers  

Views of Education Advisers

“It is desperately needed and will provide much needed rigour, integrity and gravitas to an aspect of the ‘system’ that currently lacks coherence and consistency.”

Mike Ion, Education Adviser, Academies Group, Department for Education

“The organisation is formed ‘by professionals, for professionals’ and should ensure that advisers are trained, developed and remain current. The accreditation is a very rigorous and robust process that sets the bar very high for challenge and support.  I believe it wholly appropriate and something of a professional necessity that such support becomes regulated and accredited.”

Mike McGhee, Headteacher, Blessed John Henry Newman RC College, Oldham (First  applicant to achieve accredited status)

The AoEA accreditation process was both demanding and fulfilling. It has equipped me with the tools that are required to successfully give the highest standard of educational advice. The AoEA training is essential for leaders who want to become advisors. The wealth of knowledge and experience of the course leaders is exceptional. I now understand why the role of leadership is so different from that of an educational advisor. The IoEA sets the bar very high.”

Eamonn Whelan, Independent Education Adviser






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