The concept of Critical Friendship emerged from experience in our own schools. As school leaders we are all close to change and planning processes. Too close. An objective opinion based on a rigorous examination of the available evidence by an experienced outsider we found to be of enormous benefit. Consilium Education consultants will not hesitate to tell you things you might not want to hear, but we will always be supportive and positive. This realistic approach is also respected by both staff and parents, and will help a school make difficult but necessary decisions. We also know that the final decision is always yours. We will work collaboratively with you to help you plan an intervention that gives you ownership. Then we leave. The last thing we want is to create a dependency culture – this can be as debilitating to the school as it is expensive. However, as part of our agreed consultancy fee we will build in a follow up analysis as you report the impact of any change back to us.
School leaders are also able to draw on our experience: over the past 20 years we have made some tough calls in some extremely difficult circumstances – for example during the South East Asian currency crisis of 1997 and the world downturn after the banking crisis of 2008. There are good ways and bad ways of steering through dangerous seas: we can help you with your planning to make sure that you don’t have to take difficult decisions in isolation.
All Consilium consultants are Critical Friends to the schools which have hired them for a consultancy. School priorities must be seen in context and so we will always carry out a short analytical overview of your position in this spirit when we are engaged to carry out training or facilitation. You can also arrange a visit to carry out an in depth analysis of strengths and weaknesses, perhaps in preparation for an accreditation or inspection.