New national organisation set up to improve education advice

An organisation set up to establish national quality standards for education specialists who support schools has officially launched.

The Association of Education Advisers (AoEA) addresses the need for quality and consistency of advice. It is a membership and accreditation organisation that intends to provide a gateway for school and college leaders who wish to be education advisers or develop their skills to a higher level. Those who are presently working as education advisers are also encouraged to participate.

Law firm Stone King, national leaders in education law, fully supports the launch of AoEA. The Association is the idea of Les Walton CBE, who has advised numerous cross-party governments on education policy and worked at the highest levels in the public sector, including as headteacher, director of education and more recently as a founder of Schools NorthEast, Northern Education and chair/founder of one of the north’s largest multi academy trusts, Northern Education Trust.

AoEA, which is a not for profit body limited by guarantee, has received widespread encouragement from national education leaders such as National Schools Commissioner Sir David Carter, Peter Lauener, Chief Executive of the Education and Skills Funding Agency and Lord Agnew, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System, among others, as well as professional representative organisations such as ASCL, Confederation of School Trusts (CST), NAHT and NGA.

Mr Walton says: “A modern education system requires advice and support that is independent and of a consistent quality, irrespective of changes in government policy. Education advisers also need to be able to demonstrate the impact of their advice.  What the AoEA will do is to ensure a range of professional, credible and authoritative advisers by providing staged assessments firstly to review professional competency and personal capacity and this will lead to accreditation at Associate or Senior Associate level.”

Polly O’Malley, partner at Stone King who spoke at the AoEA launch event, adds: “Schools are working in a far more rigid framework than ever before. With this sort of pressure, leaders are continually walking a tightrope, making it essential to get the right advice at the right time. Don't wait until the risk materialises but act as soon the liability is perceived. At that stage, it is essential to take advice from the right people – not a friend or colleague, but a trusted adviser - which is where AoEA can support the sector.”

To read more about the AoEA’s launch, please follow the link or visit the association’s website at


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