Introduction

Education Consultancy is an important and growing industry both in Australia. Professionals in this sector offer non-biased expertise and advice

  • to students and families,
  • ed-tech companies,
  • governments,
  • schools.

Many Educational Consultants have a background in school leadership, teaching, or administration.

Consultants for schools provide institutions with advice, tools, and strategies which:

  • Enable them to meet the needs of communities both now and in the future.
  • Maximise opportunities and outcomes for students and staff.
  • Support continued growth, expansion, and achievement of goals.

How can these professionals help your school, how do you choose someone who is a good fit, and how do you facilitate effective relationships with Educational Consultants.

How Consultancy Supports Schools

Consultants fulfil a range of functions for Schools:

  • They help plan and implement solutions to specific problems. For example, schools may wish to restore their public image following negative media exposure or improve the performance of struggling students. It helps to have an outside expert work through logistics, as well as evaluate the short-term and long-term consequences of problems and proposed solutions.
  • Many specialise in key areas of policy and practice, including:
  • Evidence-based curriculum design and implementation
  • Government policies and procedures, sourcing funding, and preparing grant applications
  • Data-driven school improvement planning and implementation
  • Innovative leadership practices
  • How to boost enrolments and plan for the future
  • Best practice instruction, assessment, and evaluation. Advice can have a general or specific focus e.g. improving the teaching of STEM subjects at primary level.
  • Creative thinking
  • Behaviour management
  • Improving literacy and numeracy
  • School branding and advertising, the development of a school’s vision, values, and motto.
  • Developing initiatives, policies, and priorities for international, indigenous, ESL, or special education pupils.
  • Emerging technologies/ICT competencies of students and staff
  • Blended and online learning
  • Creating a positive work culture for staff and students
  • AV education
  • Consultants may work with schools for a few weeks, months, or provide ongoing support for longer periods. Many provide targeted training through workshops. Moreover their experience working in Schools enhances their ability to understand the challenges and responsibilities.. Education Consultancy websites frequently offer detailed advice in a range of formats
  • Successful consultants stay abreast of current research and developments in the education industry. Such knowledge helps schools navigate unprecedented challenges such as the disruption to face-to-face teaching and learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The latter forced many schools to re-evaluate their approaches and resources available for online learning. Consultants can identify gaps in this area and others, encouraging clients to harness deficiencies and setbacks as opportunities for development.
  • Finally, specialists in demographics and data analysis ensure schools remain relevant to current and prospective students and their families. Taking stock of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, potential challenges or threats at regular intervals is invaluable for both new and established institutions. Data experts can help you create a profile of who your students are and what they need now and in the future. Detailed analysis and information makes it easier for school leaders to maintain and increase enrolments, as well as understand the impact of decisions and investments.

 Choosing and Working with Consultants

Who you choose to work with and how you work with them makes all the difference. Here are a few tips and tricks to remember:

Network:

Not sure who to call? Connect with schools that faced similar issues and had great results with particular consultancy firms or independent consultants. Attend conferences and listen to experts speak to gauge whether they are a good fit for your organisation.

Credentials and Experience:

To address specific issues, hire a specialist who will bring in-depth knowledge and practical experience from past projects to the table. Consultants with a proven track record and the ability to translate theory into practice usually have a Masters degree or higher qualification.

Communicate Clearly and Openly:

Clarify your objectives and expectations with the Education Consultant so that both parties are clear on what is required from the start. Meet with them to discuss the nitty-gritty, including prices and contracts for services. Be transparent and expect transparency.

Prioritise Partnership:

Look for Education Consultants who work with staff to generate internal solutions, rather than impose solutions from the outside. Staff are more likely to embrace change and innovation if they are involved. They can share concerns and information with the consultant.

Manage Resistance:

Staff may be resistant to change simply because they are more comfortable with the status quo. Encourage them to examine and challenge negative assumptions about innovative approaches. Are they justified or realistic? What are the obstacles to planning and successful implementation?

Be Patient:

Change doesn’t occur overnight. It may only begin to pay off once staff and students are familiar and comfortable with new policies, procedures, and ways of thinking. They may need to acquire new skills or hone existing competencies to initiate change. All this takes time.

Provide Feedback:

Giving your School Consultants regular feedback allows them to fine-tune approaches to better serve individual schools. As much as they are experts, they are also learners. Celebrating what works and investigating what doesn’t together is essential.

Schools can learn much from consultants and put plans into action with their assistance. Establishing a healthy relationship between both parties and working out what you want or need to achieve for your school is just the beginning.

Bibliography

8 Questions with an Educational Consultant.” Teach.com Blog. 28 February 2017.

What Does an Education Consultant Do?” Walden University Blog.

The Education Consultancy Website Homepage. The Education Consultancy. 2017.

Beadle, Phil. “Phil Beadle on ‘how do we systematise this?’” Teacher Magazine. 13 November 2017.

Bruens, Robbie. “Education Consultant: Career and Salary Information.” Resilient Educator. Updated 1 March 2020.

Fruin, Carolyn. “From the Classroom to Consultant in 6 Smart Steps.” EdSurge. 19 July 2015.

Joubert, Mathilda. “What do Education Consultants do?” Swan Christian Education Association (SCEA). 8 April 2016.

Miller, Kelsey. ”What Does A Higher Education Consultant Do?” Northeastern University Blog. 3 July 2019.

Vukovic, Rebecca, and Phil Beadle. “Behaviour Management Episode 2: Phil Beadle on de-escalation techniques.” Teacher Magazine. 17 August 2017.

About the Author

PhD in European Languages and Cultures

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