THE Association of Education Advisers (AoEA) launched its North East and Cumbria centre this week, marking one of the most significant developments in education in recent years.

The AoEA provides a gateway for school and college leaders and those currently working as education advisers to develop their skills to a higher level, addressing the need for quality and consistency of advice.

In the North East and Cumbria, many schools need a great deal of support, so having easy access to a wide range of accredited advisers will enable the delivery of higher education standards in key areas such as maths, English, governance and wider management issues.

The AoEA was launched in York a year ago and operates via a network of ten regional centres spread throughout England.

The idea behind the organisation came from a well-known champion of higher standards in education, Les Walton CBE, who lives in Newcastle and has held various high-level education sector roles as a headteacher, director of education, chief executive and principal of an FE College as well as providing cross-party advice to several prime ministers on all aspects of educational policy.

Hosted by North East commercial law firm, Muckle LLP, the launch event attracted some 80 attendees. Key national and regional organisations as well as major players in the world of education travelled from across the UK to attend the event including organisations such as Ambition Institute, Association of Colleges, Association of School and College Leaders, Confederation of School Trusts, National Association of Headteachers and Ofsted.

The AoEA vision for a profession-led quality accreditation has received widespread support from leaders such as the former National Schools Commissioner, Sir David Carter, now executive director of Ambition Institute, from Peter Lauener, former chief executive of the Education and Skills Funding Agency and from Lord Agnew, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System.

Since its launch, numerous schools, multi academy trusts and several education authorities and independent education providers, such as Babcock International, became involved at an early stage resulting in almost 100 associate advisers already being accredited or under assessment while the first cohort of senior associates is currently going through the process.