About the AoEA

Yes, we are a company limited by guarantee, which means we invest all surplus profit back into the association to raise the quality of advice to schools and colleges throughout the UK and abroad.

Please contact a member of the team by email to finance@nullaoea.co.uk or call 0191 820 3114.

Associate Accreditation

The Associate level accreditation is for colleagues who have at least 3 years of practice in providing advice and guidance to senior leaders, governors and directors, for example as:

  • an internal or external adviser working in school improvement and governance issues;
  • an executive headteacher or similar role working across multiple schools;
  • a headteacher or principal with proven experience of significant and sustained school improvement. (eg in England taking a school to Ofsted good or outstanding).


Yes, we appreciate that everyone has been working in a time of uncertainty and we would not expect this to impact our applicants negatively. Please date back up to 4-5 years, if you think this provides the proof needed to cover your experience

You complete the accreditation programme in your own time at your own pace. We usually recommend completing your accreditation within 3-6months.

You will need to provide us with the email and phone contact details of two referees who are familiar with your work and who are happy to comment on your strengths against the three criteria in the areas of:

  • Advisory skills
  • School improvement
  • Governance

You will become part of a community of headteachers, local authority school improvement professionals, independent advisers and CEOs/senior leaders working in trusts both nationally and internationally. The opportunity to join a network in which to share knowledge, learn from others and help raise the quality of education advice throughout the UK and overseas.

We have excellent feedback from those completing our accreditation. Many applicants have highlighted how they have valued being able to reflect on their own experience and demonstrate how they have made a difference to those they support.

All your data is saved securely within our organisation’s online IT system. If you require any further information, please email info@nullaoea.co.uk

Yes, this can be provided upon request to the team by emailing info@nullaoea.co.uk

A Senior Associate would be expected to be able to address system-wide and deep-rooted issues in groups of schools or organisations that require a complete rethink and/or an iterative programme of intervention. They will require deep understanding, knowledge and skills to provide support and challenge at this level. They will be able to evidence successful practice and impact.

When reviewing portfolios, we try to identify those candidates who we think, at this stage, would be most likely to complete the Senior Associate accreditation route successfully. This identification is primarily based on the information provided in portfolios and quite often one of the candidate’s case studies could be further developed as evidence for the Senior Associate assessment process.

We would not automatically discount any accredited Associate from following the Senior Associate route, but, for some, we would either suggest further learning or experience or the provision of additional information. The key issue is to maximise the likelihood of success for candidates.

For those considering becoming a Senior Associate, we would always suggest completing our one-day training courses on the Senior Associate criteria. Dates are shown on our events and training page here; please check:

  • Using an Organisational Development Approach to School Improvement
  • Supporting the Management of Change
  • Using a Quality Systems Approach to School Improvement.

Our assessment process is designed to advise you at the application stage if you require further experience before applying to become an Associate or Senior Associate. The application and assessment journey includes mentoring, support and training throughout.

For anyone who has not met the standard following portfolio assessment, we will assign a mentor who can discuss either what is required to develop your experience or extra training in order to complete and resubmit your portfolio. We have no time limit, so this can take as long as is required.

Associate accreditation costs £1,400 per person. Individual candidates are required to pay £200 for the initial application stage, which covers review of your application only. If, at this stage, you do not have the required experience to complete, we are happy to offer you a free one- year membership as an Affiliate to access our training, educational keeping in touch meetings (EduKITs), newsletter and knowledge exchange.

If you are invited to the professional conversation and at this stage you do not have the required experience to attend seminar and complete portfolio, you will be offered to join as an Affiliate member to access our training, EduKITs, newsletter and knowledge exchange. The cost of membership is not included in the £200 and you will be asked to sign up and pay the annual membership fee.

Want to learn more?