My consulting orientation is one of critical friendship.

Art Costa and Bena Kallick coined the expression over twenty years ago. They describe a critical friend as:

. . . a trusted person who asks provocative questions, provides data to be examined through another lens, and offers critique of a person’s work as a friend.  A critical friend takes the time to fully understand the context of the work presented and the outcomes that the person or group is working toward.  The friend is an advocate for the success of that work.

John MacBeath helpfully reminds anyone who thinks they are or would like to be a critical friend:

There is one touchstone question for the critical friend, which is not too far away from what a teacher would, or should, ask in relation to the class or individual learner: ‘Will this help to develop independence, the capacity to learn and to apply learning more effectively over time?’

My personalised service is:

  • to aim to understand the complexity of people’s situation, their successes, issues, challenges and changing needs
  • to address the issues in collaboration with them
  • to custom design tools and processes
  • to present and facilitate where appropriate
  • to connect them with my networks to add value
  • to evaluate and encourage and support self-evaluation of their progress and achievements

Some consultancies include:

  • Conexus Technology, Norway – EIKA Project – Evidence-Informed Quality Management project (Norwegian Research Council) – developing self-evaluation and collaborative tools and processes
  • DiU Stiftlesen, Sweden – designing and facilitating study tour of Swedish decision makers to London to explore how to enhance quality and equity through peer learning, professional learning communities and system leadership
  • Professional Lead, Modular Curriculum – ensuring consistency and progression in modules created by teams of expert writers (National College for School Leadership)
  • Lithuanian Learning for Leaders – five-year project focused on leadership and municipality development, leadership competencies, formal and informal learning, research and technological integration (Centre for School Improvement and Ministry of Education, Lithuania)
  • Becoming the Best We Can Be at 110! – supporting school development (Chiswick House School and St Martin’s College, Malta)
  • Rotterdam Programme for Educational Underachievement – member of an international review panel supporting local innovation efforts (Rotterdam City Education Department)

Also expert to the OECD on four of its initiatives: Improving School Leadership, Innovative Learning Environments, Transforming School into Learning Organisations, and Evaluation and Assessment