Consultancy is one of lesser known branches of education, but one which forms the backbone of the country’s school system.
Covering everything from teacher training and assessment to inspecting schools, making recommendations to the government, designing the schools of the future or even getting involved in international educational initiatives, education consultancy can encompass a range of roles.
If you wish to pursue a career as a freelance education consultant, then there are plenty of paths to choose, so you can find a position which offers you everything you are looking for. Most educational consultants work on either a freelance basis or are attached to a firm of consultants, and the work can involve a range of settings. These could include:
- Early years establishments
- Primary and secondary schools
- Further and higher education institutions
- Local authorities
- Pupil referral units
- Community programmes
- Learning support unit
Many education consultants train as teachers, which gives them an insight into the world of education at the coal-face as it were. However, it is not essential to have a qualification in teaching, as many freelance education consultants come from a business, project management or development and training background.
Benefits of being a freelance education consultant
For many people who choose to work for themselves, there are a number of benefits to being a freelancer, which include:
- The ability to choose your clients, meaning that you can take control of your career path and pursue the aspects of the role that most interests you
- Flexibility to work when you want to and fit your hours around any other commitments you might have
- Being in a position to take advantage of tax planning opportunities afforded to you when you run your own business
- Setting your own rates of pay
Anyone who is interested in working for themselves will appreciate the need to be self-motivated and well-organised, as well as able to work to deadlines. Some roles require the consultant to attend schools or educational establishments during their working days, but there are many elements to the job which can be completed at times that suit you and from wherever you feel you work best.
If you have made the decision to become a freelance education consultant then you may well have an idea of which aspect of education interests you most. If you have qualifications and experience in one area then becoming a freelance consultant could be as simple as making the decision and finding your first job.
Some roles require you to undertake training in order to ensure that standards are maintained across the country. These are usually the ones which involve a consultant going into an educational setting for a specific purpose, such as performance management assessors, Ofsted inspectors or delivering training to teachers or other educational professionals. Training is usually offered to consultants who meet the criteria required but some courses are available to anyone who is interested so you could improve your chances of finding work by undertaking courses or training which is relevant to your field of interest.
Finding work as a freelance education consultant
If you already have a background in education, then you may already be a member of a professional body which offers support and assistance for those who are keen to find work in the field of freelance educational consultancy.
If you are not, then the Society of Education Consultants is an organisation which represents both consultants and those who might need their services. They provide a framework within which their members work which ensures that those who use their services can be assured of a high standard of work. Joining an organisation such as the SEC is a good way to access their database of job opportunities as well as offering opportunities to meet and network with other educational consultants.
There are also a number of educational consultancies who use the services of freelance educational consultants so getting on their books could provide you with opportunities which could have the potential to yield more work. Some government departments have particular companies who provide certain services to schools and educational establishments throughout the country. If you know that this is the kind of work you would like to do, then a little research should enable you to establish which organisations are responsible for providing consultants and approach them directly.